Senior Foot Care
Far too often, people think foot issues are normal or simply part of aging and nothing worth worrying about. In reality, foot or ankle problems need to be addressed, especially as we get older. Of course, the best course is to prevent a condition from developing in the first place, and a key component of effective senior foot care is prevention. When issues can’t be prevented, it is important to have them treated at their earliest stages.
Common Issues for Older Feet
Feet are complicated structures and face tremendous amounts of pressure and physical stress, so there are many foot and ankle conditions that can develop. We do tend to see some more commonly among our older patients:
Arthritis – There are several variations of arthritis. The type people generally associate with the term is osteoarthritis. This commonly seen in older individuals and is caused by natural “wear and tear” over time. Gout and rheumatoid arthritis are other arthritic conditions which can cause issues in the lower limbs.
Athlete’s foot – As we age, it becomes harder to effectively fight off infections. This means fungal infections like athlete’s foot are more commonly seen in senior patients. Anti-fungal products (sprays, powders) are quite effective for treating mild-to-moderate cases and can even be used to prevent the condition from developing.
Fungal toenail infections – Some fungal infections take place in the toenails. They cause discolored, thickened, and crumbly nails, with the offensive fungus often being contracted from locker room floors, pool decks, or shared towels (warm, damp environments that are ideal for fungal growth).
Dry skin – As the body ages, it doesn’t keep skin as moist as it did during younger years. Dryness might not seem like a big deal, but excessively dry skin can lead to fissures and cracks on your feet, which are openings for microorganisms. You can lower your infection risk by using moisturizing lotion or cream daily.
Toe deformities – Muscular imbalances in the toes can build up over time and cause deformities like hammertoes, mallet toes, and claw toes. Bunions are another issue that can develop due to imbalance in the joint found at the base of the big toe.
Prevention Tips for Senior Feet
The best practice is to take steps to decrease the risk for these conditions, especially as you become older. Fortunately, preventative foot care doesn’t have to be particularly complicated. Some of the best practices are to:
- Keep your feet dry. This is a key component to avoiding fungal infections. If your feet are going to become wet or sweaty, have a spare set of socks to change into afterwards. Make sure your socks wick moisture away. Choose shoes that are made from breathable material. Air out your feet when possible by wearing sandals or open-toed shoes.
- Get regular exercise. This benefits your overall health, but it will also keep your feet safe by providing better circulation, injury prevention, and stronger muscles to retain functionality.
- Watch what you eat. Your body needs proper nutrients to keep the bones, muscles, skin, and nail tissue of your feet nourished.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you adhere to the previous two practices, this will come naturally, which is important for reducing the stress and pressure feet face from excess weight.
- Keep your nails trimmed. Maintain your nails by keeping them trimmed even with the edge of your toe (not too long or too short) and in a straight line. Avoid the temptation to round off the corners, since that can possibly lead to ingrown nails.
- Wear shoes that fit well. Too many foot and ankle issues arise from footwear that does not fit properly. Choose pairs that cradle the heel, allow your toes to wiggle, and have a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the front.
Senior Foot Care in Oklahoma City
We are able to help with senior foot care services in two different ways: treatment and information. Our podiatrists can provide the care you need for any existing foot or ankle problem that is causing pain or interfering with your (or a loved one’s) regular tasks. Additionally, we can help you create a foot care plan to decrease the risk of issues arising.
Whether you need treatment or prevention help, make Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma your first choice. Give us a call at (405) 418-2676 and schedule your appointment for great foot care today.
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