As we age the feet become more prone to problems because the skin begins to thin out and lose its elasticity. These problems can be very painful and uncomfortable but it is possible to treat or prevent them so that seniors can continue to enjoy their life without constantly being in pain. In this article we would like to offer some information on common problems of ageing feet as well as some tips on how to treat or prevent these issues.
One of the most common problems for ageing feet is arthritis. Arthritis can make walking very difficult and painful but there are ways to manage it. Arthritis is most commonly seen in the ankle or big toe joints which can make walking and balancing harder for those suffering from it. Seniors should talk with their doctor if they believe that they are suffering from arthritis in their feet so that they can discuss treatment options. Arthritis cannot be cured but there are ways to treat and manage it such as by taking medication which can greatly reduce symptoms and make walking much easier.
Another common area of concern for ageing feet is the skin. As we age the skin on our feet as well as the fatty layer under the skin becomes much thinner. These changes are problematic because they often cause the skin to become very dry which can lead to an uncomfortable rash if it is not treated. Seniors should routinely apply lotion or foot cream on their feet to keep their skin hydrated and prevent a rash from developing. When applying lotion or foot cream it is important for seniors to also keep in mind any allergies or other skin conditions that they might have so that they can choose an appropriate lotion and avoid an allergic reaction which can make the symptoms of their dry skin worse. A thinner layer of fat under the skin also means that the heels have less cushioning available and are prone to becoming cracked or callused. The best way for seniors to combat calluses and cracks on their heels is to keep their weight under control to minimize the excess stress that is being put on the feet.
Seniors should also keep an eye on their toenails as they age. It is very common for the toenails to become thicker and more brittle as part of the ageing process which can make them harder to cut, but this can also be caused by other problems so seniors should talk with their doctor or a podiatrist if they are concerned. It is very important to keep the toenails trimmed in order to prevent any mobility issues. With that said, many seniors have trouble cutting their toenails as they become thicker. Long toenails can make it harder for seniors to walk or put on their shoes so it is important that seniors ask for help if they are not able to take care of their toenails on their own. This might seem like a minor issue but it can make a big difference in a senior’s mobility.
One of the most important things that seniors can do for their ageing feet is to choose the right footwear. Seniors should look for shoes that support the arches of their feet and provide extra cushioning or shock absorption on the heels. Seniors should also make sure that their shoes are easy to put on but are still secure on the feet while they are wearing them. Velcro shoes are often very good for seniors because they are easy to put on, do not require them to tie laces and provide more security than slip on shoes. It is also important for seniors to make sure that their shoes are in good condition and are not too worn out because older shoes often provide less support and comfort.
The most important thing for seniors to remember is that proper foot care can make walking much easier and more comfortable and should not be neglected. Family caregivers can help their loved ones with their foot care by helping them trim their toenails or apply lotion on their feet. Seniors with any concerns or signs of more serious foot problems should visit their doctor or have their regular doctor recommend a podiatrist for them to visit. Foot problems often become worse if they are left untreated so seniors should make sure that they do not ignore any pain or discomfort in their feet. Following these tips should ensure that seniors have healthier and more comfortable feet as they age.
Additional information and similar posts in our home care blog:
- Swollen Ankles in the Elderly: Causes, Prevention and Treatment
- Common Skin Problems in the Elderly
- Foot Care – Why it is Important to Care for Your Feet