One of the most neglected and most used parts of the body is the feet. This area is also a strong indicator of the overall health of the person, which is why seniors need to pay more attention to their feet.
What Your Feet Can Do For You
Your feet are often the first indication of circulation problems or nerve disorders; they also may indicate arthritis or diabetes. However, many seniors assume that when their feet cause problems it is just because they are getting older.
Healthy feet can help your loved ones stay active. When their feet hurt, they are less likely to get the exercise they need or get involved in activities.
Feet in good condition make it easier for the senior to keep their balance and remain steady when they are walking. Aching or injured feet are more likely to contribute to falls.
Preventing Foot Problems
You can prevent many issues that arise from poor foot care by paying more attention to them. Inspect your senior family member’s feet regularly. Look for discoloration, bumps, blisters, sores, corns or bunions, or any other indications that your loved one needs to see a doctor.
Other ways your senior can care for their feet include:
- Prop the feet up when they are sitting down
- Stretch the legs after sitting for some time
- Take regular walks to increase circulation in the legs and feet
- Have a foot massage to stimulate blood flow
- Take warm foot baths
- Use lotion – make sure they don’t walk around in bare feet after applying lotion or they may slip and fall
- Avoid socks with tight elastic at the top or ridges
- Wear socks at night if they have cold feet
- Wiggle the toes and feet when they have been in one position for awhile
Tips for Buying New Shoes
You may not realize it but feet change size as you age so it is important to get the feet measured when you buy new shoes. Here are some tips for shoe shopping:
- Since one foot is usually larger than the other one, measure the largest one.
- Don’t buy shoes by the size; try them on to check the fit.
- Look for a shoe that is shaped like your foot.
- Make sure your foot feels comfortable at the widest part of the shoe.
- Have at least a 5cm width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- Don’t buy shoes that are tight in any area.
- Don’t buy shoes that slip at the heel; they can cause the person to fall.
- Walk in the shoes to know how they feel.
- Buy quality shoes with good support to help your loved one be safe.
Fungal problems can result when a person wears their shoes all of the time. Make sure your loved one is wearing clean, dry socks and giving their shoes time to air out and dry between wearing.
Corn and bunions often occur because of ill-fitting shoes. They can be painful and may need to be removed by a doctor or may have a medicine prescribed.
Ingrown toenails are another common foot issue with seniors. These can be painful and cause infection so it is important to see the doctor to have it taken care of.
Hammertoe is another condition that comes with aging. With this problem, the tendons become shortened and the knuckle on the big toe gets enlarged. This can cause a person to be off-balance, resulting in more falls.
When to See the Doctor
You should check with your doctor right away if your senior family member has reduced sensations in their feet or legs or if any part of their lower legs turns black or blue. If they have a sore or wound that doesn’t heal, you should alert the doctor or if they experience numbness or tingling or other pain. Pain when they are walking is not normal and should be addressed by a medical professional.
Proper foot care can help your loved one remain active and feel better. Encourage them to be proactive with their foot care. Carefect Homecare Services caregivers can assist your senior loved ones with some foot care. They can monitor their feet and alert you to any changes; they can also help with foot baths and massages as part of our range of services. If needed, our caregivers can also accompany the senior to the doctor if any foot issues arise.