recently read this article about foot care tips for the elderly. I think it is spot on! As a podiatric surgeon with over 30 years of experience, I’ve seen first hand how foot problems in my elderly patients can make or break their mobility and independence.
Elderly Foot Care: Common Foot Problems in the Elderly
As the medical director of the Releford Foot and Ankle Institute, I am on a mission of keep you on your feet no matter what your age or profession.
As you age, you may think a great deal about your overall health and how to stay healthy, but you might forget about your feet. The truth is, if your feet aren’t healthy, you can find yourself immobile and housebound or even worse. That’s why elderly foot care should be a priority.
Common Foot Problems for Seniors
As people age, foot complaints become more and more common. These issues can range from bunions to hammertoes and even problems due to diabetes.
Some of the most common issues include:
- Heel pain
- Ingrown Toenails
These issues can limit mobility and, if combined with other mobility issues, they can keep you off your feet for extended periods of time. You may find yourself on a scooter or in a wheelchair. The good news is there is a lot of foot care for the elderly that you can take advantage of so you don’t find yourself in this situation.
Foot Care for the Elderly
When it comes to taking care of your feet, you need to consider elderly toenail care, heel care, and other areas of the feet, as foot problems in the elderly can occur in any part of the foot.
As a person ages, it can become more difficult to maintain their own feet and nails. That’s why as their loved one or caregiver, it may fall to you to take over the job. You’ll want to watch for discoloration in the foot or toenails, sores or wounds that aren’t healing, and tingling or a burning sensation in the feet.
If you notice discoloration or your loved one complains about a burning sensation, you will want to take them to their doctor be to make sure these are not signs of complications from diabetes or other serious conditions such as gout or circulatory issues.
Once you’ve established there are no serious issues, you need to have a checklist of things to do to avoid elderly foot problems.
This checklist should include the following:
- Use a footstool when seated to elevate their feet.
- Always dry the feet completely.
- Make sure shoes and socks fit correctly.
- Trim toenails on a regular basis.
- Use lotion on the feet.
Nail care for the elderly is especially important, as improperly trimmed nails can lead to an infection or ingrown toenail. So, when it comes to toenail cutting for the elderly, be sure to do it in a well-lighted area and after your loved one has taken a bath or shower so their nails are easier to cut.
Finally, foot pain in the elderly should not be ignored. This can be a sign of a serious condition. If your loved one is experiencing foot pain, be sure to take them to their primary care physician as soon as possible.
Having healthy feet is a vital component to having a good quality of life as one ages. Keeping your feet or your loved one’s feet in good shape isn’t difficult. It just takes a little planning and maintenance.