When it comes to the health of seniors, a lot of attention is on mental, cardiovascular and immune health. However, tending to the feet can be a really important way to promote comfort, mobility and dignity.
Your feet can also be the first sign that you have specific problems. Diabetes and vascular disease, for instance, can lead to poor circulation, infections and poor healing of scrapes, cuts and bumps to your feet and lower legs. Arthritis may also show first in the feet, as with gouty arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Foot problems can also lead to changes in how you walk, potentially increasing your risk of falls.
Tips for Good Foot Health:
- Pay attention – Make sure to be aware of how your feet feel and look. Are there any cuts/ulcers, ingrown toenails, blisters, persistent itching? If these are present, make sure to inform your physician and chiropodist for proper care.
- Make sure the shoes fit – Improper shoe size can contribute to foot pain, blisters, calluses and bunions. Try shoes on before purchasing them; walk in them to make sure they feel right. The back of the shoe should not slide up and down when walking, avoid tight fitting shoes. Low-heeled shoes are safer, provide more comfort and are less damaging than high-heeled shoes. Select shoes with uppers that are soft and flexible. Don’t forget about getting correctly fitted compression socks and hosiery. (Click here to read our post on selecting a good shoe).
- Regular foot care – Walking, stretching, foot massage and warm foot baths can all assist in the proper circulation to your feet. Make sure to keep your feet dry before wearing shoes.
- Watch for common problems – Fungal infections, dry feet, bunions, corns and calluses, in-grown toenails, swollen feet, hammertoes, neuromas, bone spurs, etc. Seek the care of a foot specialist, known as a chiropodist – they can help prevent, assess and treat problems affecting your feet.