Top 7 Foot Care Tips For Seniors
According to the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association, 75% of the Americans face foot health problems at some point in their lives. The majority of this percentage is formed by the older population. As we age, foot care becomes more challenging due to the amount of care that needs to be taken. This is why implementing preventive habits is crucial to keep our feet strong and detect possible ailments quickly. Taking care of your feet will become an easier task if you start applying these 7 foot care tips for seniors.
1. Check for any foot health problem
Every illness has its own cure. And you don’t want to spend time or money in remedies that are not fighting the real problem. Truth is that if you already have a serious ailment developed, you MUST take care of it first. These are some of the most common foot problems seniors may suffer.
Arthritis affects the joints in our body. It causes pain and sometimes can even deform the foot or toes. Depending on the type of arthritis that you have, the symptoms can be slightly different. The most common signs of this ailment are joint swelling and stiffness, warmth or redness between your toes, and a lasting feeling of sensitivity in the articulations. If these symptoms persist for more than 2 or 3 weeks that’s definitely a sign for you to go to the doctor.
How is Diabetes related to foot care? People with diabetes can have very poor blood flow. This affects their capacity to heal effectively and fast. In addition, the nerves can sometimes be damaged by unhealthy sugar levels. So it is important to encourage seniors with this illness, to inspect their feet closely looking for new cuts or wounds. If you detect them, please sanitize the area 2-3 times a day to help the healing process.
This ailment attacks mainly the arch and the heel of the foot. And it’s actually the most common among the foot health problems seniors can face. Feeling a sharp pain in the heel of the foot and having trouble to stand or walk during long periods of time, are serious indicators that your feet might be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis. It is important for people with these symptoms to relieve their foot pain every day at home. Never ignore the lasting pain in the heels. Since this condition can get worse with time, we recommend seniors to visit a podiatrist who can help to balance the musculoskeletal system of your feet.
2. Use appropriate footwear
Seniors should look for the footwear that fits their specific needs. Some points that should always be considered when buying shoes or socks for seniors are the areas of possible illness, the aim of shoe using, and the shape of your foot.
The posture of your body and the changes that our bone system suffers when we age. This affects the stability we need to be able to stand and walk without falling. If you can relate to this problem, look for slip-resistant shoes. They will effectively prevent you from falling on dry or wet surfaces. And favor the arch and ball of your feet. In spite of this, we do recommend to be careful when buying these shoes. Not all of them are too comfortable. Always try the shoes first and look for the ones specially made for seniors.
Seniors can be victims of toe pain, fungus, and calluses. Which can be avoided by wearing orthopedic shoes. Their wide toebox provides enough space for your feet. Having more space improves the blood flow in your feet and it does not allow the shoe to deform your foot. Orthopedic shoes come in different styles according to the use you are going to give them. For instance, seniors who have very busy days might need the athletic ones. Those have a padded tongue that keeps the foot in the right place while giving enough support on the ankles.
Compression supportive socks
These socks have an elastic stocking that makes pressure on the more superficial veins and pushes the blood into the deeper venous tissue. They can be used to treat patients with varicose veins, foot swelling, and diabetes. Now, most of the time compression socks are very hard to put on. But that’s exactly how they work. Keep in mind that the compression socks have many medical usages, so it’s better to ask the specialist which ones should you use based on your needs.
3. Foot exercises
Our feet need daily exercises to maintain the muscles strong enough and have a good blood flow. Seniors who exercise more often are actually proven to have better stability while moving. Now, there is no need to pay for a gym when you can exercise at home. For example, you can do a calf stretch by holding a towel and putting it around the ball of your foot. Then pull it back (softly) as you start feeling how the arch of the foot stretches. Hold it for 15 seconds and go on with the other foot! Another good tip is to drop a sock or a pencil and try to pick it up with your toes.
These are just short exercises you can do at home. But if you want to go further, there are other options such as yoga, swimming, or water aerobics.
4. Soak Feet
After a long day of being active, your feet deserve to be pampered a little bit. A very nice way of doing this is by soaking your feet. Seniors tend to have dry skin and heel pain. There are recipes for both of these problems. For the pain, you can try with Epsom salt baths in warm water. And for your skin, you can try Listerine and vinegar. Pour warm water into a bowl and mix them. This is great to make your feet smoother. Another effective recipe to relieve the pain and swelling of your feet is peppermint feet soak. All you have to do is add a half cup of baking soda and 4 drops of peppermint essential oil. Dissolve well into the warm water and enjoy of this remedy for 15-20 minutes.
Nails get more easily ingrown as we age. And that’s why seniors need to be very cautious when they cut their toenails. There are some tips that you may want to follow to make the nail cutting process easier.
Take a warm bath or soak your feet to soften the toenails. As you start cutting, keep a close eye on how much you are cutting. Do not go too deep when cutting your nails so they don’t get ingrown.
You should also use the proper tools to cut your toenails. Go to the pharmacy and get special scissors for nail cutting. Please, wash your hands before starting, and sanitize any tool that you might use.
If you have a hard time trying to cut your nails, you should pay for someone to do it for you. Or ask a relative to help you with it. Appropriate toenail care is very important for patients with diabetes, too.
Getting a foot massage is a highly effective reliever for seniors with arch and heel pain. By pressing key points you can favor the circulatory system.
After a busy day feet tend to get red and swollen. If this happens to you, pour cold water into a bowl and add 2 drops of peppermint oil. This will give a refreshing sensation to your feet and it will help to numb the pain. Dry your feet with a towel. Then squeeze your toes gently and pull them to stretch the tendons.
Olive Oil and Vinegar
Mix a few drops of olive oil and vinegar in a little bowl. Then rub it on your feet. Use your thumbs to make pressure along the sole of your foot.
7. Rest your feet
Sounds too simple? Yes, it is. We usually put too much emphasis on practicing sports and staying active. But nobody ever talks about the importance of resting. If you submit your feet to long periods of walking or standing you can overheat your immune system. Why? Because a senior’s immune system requires time to repair the tissues of the muscles. If you don’t consider this, you will be more likely to get many feet injuries. Always wear comfortable socks or shoes and rest your feet at home as much as you can.
Our feet work as the mirror of the body’s health. So, just by seeing your feet you can identify initial symptoms of other medical issues. This is the perfect time to start applying better foot care habits that can guarantee you having strong feet and a better quality of life. Don’t hesitate and try these tips today. If you take good care of your feet, your friends and family will be grateful for it. And they will have a lot more fun sharing activities with you.