How often do you change the tires on your car? Most mechanics will recommend that you change them after 6 years or 30,000 miles. Anything longer than that and it becomes a safety risk. How about your feet? By old age, the average person has walked over 100,000 miles with their feet. Obviously, you can’t change your feet like you can change your tires, but you can take better care of them. If you take care of your feet, they will take care of you and last a lifetime (unlike tires!) Here are a few foot-related issues that seniors should watch out for:
Poorly-Fitting Shoes – Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause severe pain or discomfort. If your shoes don’t fit properly, it can cause pain with every step.
Changing Shape – Years of use and natural changes to the body mean that your foot will change shape over the years. Your foot will look different when you are 75 than it did when you were 25. Take this into account when shopping. As well, joints and padding will wear out which can cause additional pain.
Arthritis – Various forms of arthritis (including rheumatoid and gout) can settle in your feet as you age.
Dry and Cracked Skin – The skin on our lower extremities tends to dry out faster than on the rest of our body. This can lead to itchy, cracked, and bleeding feet.
Toenail Issues – Toenails can thicken as we age; ingrown toenails can be serious enough to warrant surgery.
Diabetes – Those who suffer from diabetes are especially prone to foot problems including numbness and loss of circulation.
Fortunately, just like your tires, you can improve the health of your loved one’s feet with some basic maintenance:
Wear Good Shoes – Don’t just grab the first pair that fit. Bring your loved one shoe-shopping and take your time. Try out different pairs and make sure they fit properly. Get special shoes if your loved one walks or runs on a regular basis.
Treat Your Feet – Bring your loved one to a pedicurist. Remember- a pedicure is not just painting the nails; they will clip, moisturize, and scrap off dry skin. It can be for men or women! However, if your family member is not comfortable with this, a gentle soak in some Epsom salts will work.
Elevate Your Feet – When sitting, try and keep the elevated as it promotes good circulation. Gently exercising by moving the feet in a circular motion will also help.
Insoles – Even if not prescribed by a doctor, an insole to compensate for the loss of foot padding will make walking more comfortable for the elderly.
Be Vigilant – Keep on eye on your loved one’s foot health. This is especially true if they suffer from Diabetes.
See a Professional – As much as you want to help, some services are best left to the professionals. At iCare Home Health, we provided compassionate, experienced, and capable health care professionals directly to the home of your loved one. Our Nurse at Home package includes foot care services. Our caregiver will clips nails, treat corns and calluses, and do preventative care. iCare Home Health services offer a wide variety of packages including live-in care. We serve the Toronto and Mississauga areas. Contact us today for more information.