As people age, their feet begin to flatten and become wider. Fatty padding supporting the feet naturally wears down. This means that bones and joints of the feet become more exposed to wear and tear as we age. Simple injuries, like skin breaks, sprains, ingrown toenails, and blisters can begin a domino effect causing problems with mobility, balance, infection, and overall health.
Because feet are largely out of sight, it’s easy to keep them out of mind as a caregiver or for your own health. In order to keep aging feet healthy and reduce the risk of developing further health issues, use these tips for monitoring the health of aging feet and get ahead of any symptoms that may arise.
When toenails are left untrimmed or trimmed poorly, they can lead to ingrown toenails. This is when the nail grows into the skin surrounding it and can lead to sores, infection, or even nerve damage. It’s important to make sure that you keep toenails trimmed short and straight across to avoid the risk of ingrown nails.
If you notice that the skin around your toenails is swollen, red, or painful to the touch, or that your toenail is disfigured or curved, it’s important to seek treatment to prevent infection or further conditions from developing.
Dry skin on the feet is more prone to cracking, flaking, and breaking, which can lead to sores and infection. If you notice that your feet are dry or beginning to crack, it’s time to up your foot moisturizing routine. You should always apply lotion to the feet after you shower and have thoroughly dried your feet. This helps to lock in moisture and keep skin soft.
There are a number of specialized foot moisturizers available so it may take some experimenting to find the one that works best for you. If you notice that your feet are still a little bit dry after moisturizing, as can be common in aging feet, try wearing breathable cotton socks after you lotion up to help lock the moisture in.
If you take your shoes off at the end of the day and your feet are sore, or if you experience discomfort and pain throughout the day, it may be time to reevaluate your footwear. As feet change with age, their needs in footwear changes. It’s important that as your feet age, you get them measured and sized by a specialist to ensure the size hasn’t changed. You should also avoid wearing high heels higher than one inch and find shoes that provide sufficient support.
If you notice that your shoes feel too tight at the toe or along the width, or that your arches and ankles get sore during the day, it may be time to find some new properly-fitting footwear.
Sores, Blisters, or Visible Changes
Blisters and sores can appear anywhere on the foot, although they are most common on the heel, toes, and edge of the foot. If someone has poor circulation or nerve damage from a condition like diabetes, these blisters or sores may go unnoticed, which can lead to infections and permanent damage.
It’s important to inspect your feet regularly as they age to check for sores, blisters, or any other visible changes like discolouration, moles, or bumps. If you notice sores or blisters, it’s important to treat them quickly so they don’t worsen. Monitor any other visible changes in your feet and get medical attention if they do not return to normal or worsen.
It’s hard to gauge if you suffer from poor circulation in the feet as you age, but a common indicator can be always having cold feet, tingly feet, or numb feet or toes. Encouraging good circulation in the feet is key as they age because poor circulation can lead to dangerous conditions like blood clots. Elevating the lower legs while resting and using a foot massager to gently massage the feet can be great options to do at home to improve circulation in the feet.
Regularly Visit a Chiropodist
If you’re a senior and are concerned about your aging feet, visiting a chiropodist regularly is the best way to ensure that your feet stay healthy. Chiropodists are able to diagnose issues early in aging feet and work as part of your overall healthcare team to ensure you’re getting quality care for your entire body.
For more information about how a chiropodist can help with aging feet, contact McQuistan Chiropody!