Tips to ensure foot health for seniors

foot health elderly people

As you grow older, your body undergoes physical changes that can predispose you to certain ailments including foot pain and discomfort. In fact, old age is considered a risk factor for developing certain foot conditions such as fungal and bacterial infections, heel spurs, foot sores, bunions, corns, and calluses.

Though your feet have already experienced years of wear and tear, you can still improve your foot health with the following tips:

Start with your footwear

Uncomfortable footwear can lead to different foot problems for the elderly. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can lead to the development of foot sores, bunions, corns, and calluses. As you get older, your feet usually become smaller and wider because you lose muscle mass, fats, and fluids.

When you’re buying a new pair of footwear, make sure that they are comfortable, slip-free, and well-fitted. Podiatrists recommend that you measure your feet or go shoe shopping later in the day when your feet are at their largest.

If you have a foot injury or condition such as plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, or bunions, you may consider wearing an orthotic aid as well. For example, bunions can be managed by wearing bunion splints and plantar fasciitis by using insoles. Having these foot problems makes it even more important to choose your footwear wisely.

Always keep your feet clean

Your feet will be prone to infection if you don’t keep them dry and clean. After completing a physical activity that made your feet sweat, wash them with soap and water and pat them dry with a clean towel. Washing your feet daily can also help you monitor any unusual changes in your feet such as discolorations, ingrown toenails, and lumps which might be an indication of other health problems. Trimming your toenails on a regular basis is also important to prevent foot pain and cuts.

Stay active

Don’t use your old age as an excuse to skip exercise. Contrary to what other may people think, exercise is not only for younger people. In fact, seniors can benefit a lot from engaging in physical fitness. If jogging and running are already too much for your feet and knees, try brisk walking and low-intensity exercises such as yoga and swimming. Research has shown that seniors who participate in daily walking, strength, and balance exercises have better health and fewer disabilities. This enables them to become mobile and independent, which can greatly boost their self-esteem.

Apply unscented creams to your feet

Your body loses more fluid as you age, making your skin lose its elasticity even further. To prevent yourself from having dry and cracked feet, apply hydrating creams and moisturizers.

Unscented creams are generally preferred and recommended over scented creams because the latter might cause bad foot odor in people with sweaty feet. Creams can keep your feet soft, smooth, and moisturized so that they are free from dry skin and heel fissures.

Avoid wearing tight socks and stockings

Compression socks and stockings are usually recommended for seniors, especially those with varicosities and venous insufficiency. However, wearing socks and stockings that are too tight can impede blood circulation in your feet. On the other hand, wearing socks that fit well can help alleviate fatigue and reduce swelling. You should wear socks that are light-colored in order to easily spot blood from cuts and sores.

In order to make foot care easier, assemble a foot care kit that contains fresh and clean foot towels, nail clippers and nail files, foot creams, antibiotic ointments, alcohol, and gauze pads.

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