We’ve written repeatedly about just how neglected feet can be. Of all the parts in the human body, they are the most likely to fit the bill for “Out of sight, out of mind.” This may not be a problem or an issue of concern in your younger years, but as you age much more attention should be given to the feet.
Did you know that by age 70, the average person will have walked the equivalent of 4 times around the globe? That’s not just a fun foot fact, it also speaks to why elderly people are very likely to suffer from some type of foot and ankle pain. Add age-related risk factor like poor blood circulation, neuropathy and wear-and-tear, and it’s easy to understand geriatric foot problems.
Frequent Geriatric Foot Care Conditions
In old age, the immune system is just not as potent as it once was. It is therefore possible that previous minor issue could turn out to be more problematic. Generally, some of the problems to look out for include fungal infection, ingrown toenails, foot ulcers, fallen arches, hammertoes, etc. Tendonitis could also inflict significant pain. With proper geriatric foot care and management, some of these conditions can be mitigated or avoided.
Daily Foot Care for Older Patients
Basic foot care is important and recommended for everybody, of course. In addition to preventing certain problems, routine checkup allows problems to be detected at an early stage, before they become severe. In general, there are five core areas involved in foot care for elderly patients.
- Proper Foot Hygiene – Making sure the feet are properly cleaned (toes, too!) and thoroughly dried on a daily basis. This also applies to keeping clean, dry footwear to prevent the likelihood of fungal infections.
- Regular Foot Inspection – Monitoring the feet for signs of damage, including bruises, cuts and sores that can develop complications if left untreated. This is especially true for patients with circulatory problems or nerve damage.
- Proper Nail Care – Trimming nails regularly (always straight across) is vital to avoiding ingrown toenails, toenail fungus and further complications. This is difficult for many older patients because of poor eyesight, and decreased flexibility and dexterity.
- Foot Care for Diabetics – Diabetes diminishes blood flow and sensitivity, making non-healing ulcers a very real problem for these patients. A podiatrist can help you cut down the risk for foot users with inspections, guidelines and prescription orthopedic shoes that protect the feet.
- Proper Footwear – As we age, we need more support in our footwear, and tight shoes or heels can exacerbate existing problems. It’s important to wear sensible shoes that won’t cause unnecessary pressure, friction or discomfort.
Geriatric foot care makes a lot of difference in the lives of the elderly. It enhances quality of life by enabling and promoting pain-free, balanced movement of senior citizens – keeping them active. Proper geriatric foot care can prevent further injury, protects the patients from falls, and lower risk of infection.
With careful attention and daily foot health, elderly people that are diabetic can lower the risk of diabetic foot problems. For instance, small blisters can be prevented from developing into serious infection.
You can wear customized orthotics to help with cushioning the foot and for protection. You can keep your feet strong, healthy and pain-free by choosing comfortable shoes, keep your feet insulated from cold temperature, washing and moisturizing your feet daily, and regular trimming of your nails. Finally, avoid crossing your legs when sitting to enhance blood circulation. It is recommended to get the service of a podiatrist for proper geriatric foot care.
Houston Foot and Ankle Care provides geriatric foot care to many happy patients, including individuals who have recovered from previous debilitating conditions, as well as those who are proactively taking care to preserve their mobility for later years. Call (713) 541-3199 to learn more about what we can do for you. We accept most forms of major medical insurance. Same-day and next-day appointments are available.
Call (713) 541-3199 if you experience:
- foot pain or discomfort while walking
- slow-healing sores or wounds
- decreased mobility