How to Take Care of the Feet of the Elderly
Foot care for seniors may not be considered to be an extremely serious thing especially when it compared to other concerns of the elderly. Yet, a lot of elderly people have complaints about their feet.
A lot of seniors are experiencing disorders and foot conditions that should be addressed soon otherwise, they would start feeling uncomfortable. One of the most common reasons why foot care becomes harder to do as people grow older is because of the physical changes that the elderly begin to feel.
A lot of seniors suffer from poor eyesight. There are some who cannot help but complain about their weak muscles. The elderly may feel that they are not as flexible as before and bending can be such a chore.
5 Common Elderly Foot Problems
The common issues that seniors normally face are the following:
1. Diabetic Ulcers
Seniors who have diabetes may begin to have this condition as a side effect of the disease. In order to make this problem go away, the wounded or injured foot should heal nicely.
2. Ingrown Nails
This is a condition wherein a portion of the nail pushes into the skin. This can be painful and uncomfortable. Basically, anyone can get this condition but seniors may get it more because of the lack of care their feet receive.
This may also be known as Athlete’s Foot. Basically, fungi may appear in different portions of the foot like in between the toes and sometimes on the nails.
This is a common condition that may affect the elderly more but even younger people suffer from this condition nowadays. It may not always be understood but this is a form of joint disease that may affect other body parts. This is not limited to people’s feet.
5. Corns and Calluses
Having corns and calluses is referred to as hyperkeratosis. These are extra layers of thickened skin that may form on various portions of the feet. This normally occurs when the foot tries to shield itself from painful shoes or from hard surfaces.
5 Simple Foot Care Tips for Seniors
Seniors who have already encountered some foot issues and injuries in the past should maintain regular checkups with their doctor just to see the condition of their foot.
There are times when foot injuries do not completely heal. When this happens, there will be more problems with the foot in the years to come. The condition may even worsen and make it harder for the elderly to walk well.
If in case the elderly is suffering from a degenerative diseases such as arthritis, then there may be some medications that will be recommended to make the pain go away. Here are some simple tips to be remembered:
1. Control Diabetes
For seniors who are suffering from diabetes, a complete lifestyle change is recommended. Unhealthy food like junk food and anything processed would have to be removed from their diet. There is also a need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet.
Remember that diabetes can also be controlled by doing simple exercises that can help regulate their weight. If Diabetes will not be controlled, this can be a big problem. A simple wound may become a full blown case of gangrene that may lead to amputation.
2. Feet Should Be Kept Clean
There is a need for the feet to be cleaned everyday with the use of warm water. Since elderly people cannot do this with ease anymore, they can be given the proper help that they deserve by washing the feet with warm water with the use of a cloth and basin.
The feet should be dried thoroughly afterwards since leaving the area warm and wet may cause some fungal infections and other problems. A moisturizer may have to be placed on the feet after cleaning so that the skin will be supple and smooth.
3. Wear Proper Socks and Footwear
When it comes to the socks that should be worn by the elderly, the socks should be made out of natural fibers. Cotton socks can be the best option and this may have to be worn all the time especially if the weather is cold.
Elderly people are not expected to wear heels and trendy footwear anymore that are known to hurt the feet. If they have orthopedic shoes for some of their foot conditions then they may wear those. The right shoes should have a smooth inner lining because this will help prevent friction that can be bad for the feet.
4. Check Feet Everyday
Those who are helping the elderly care for their feet should double check the feet if there are some bruises that they do not know how they have gotten.
Corns and calluses may also need to be reported to the doctor immediately. Scrapes are also very likely to appear in various portions of the feet. For non diabetics, these issues may be uncomfortable but for diabetics, these things may become more serious if not reported immediately.
There may be over the counter creams and gels that are meant to heal some foot issues but they should be checked by the doctor first to ensure that they are safe to use. In order to avoid minor injuries, it will help to wear socks and shoes every time that the elderly would like to do some walking around.
5. Regulate Blood Flow
The elderly normally have to walk slower than regular. There will be moments when they have to rest their feet. To do this, the elderly can sit and put their feet up with the use of another chair. Afterwards, the feet can be put down again. The toes and the ankles should be wiggled for a few minutes at a time. The elderly may have to be helped a bit in doing this.
Other Things to Remember
It should be stressed that having a healthy lifestyle is important for the elderly. Those who used to smoke would need to stop as this can worsen the medical conditions that they already have.
The trimming of toenails is also important as long toenails can hurt the toes of the feet when closed shoes are worn. Seniors always deserve to have healthy and happy feet. With the right care and the foot care tips for seniors that are mentioned above, achieving this goal is possible.