Feet. For many reasons, we don’t pay as much attention to them as we should.
The simplest reason that feet are ignored, especially as we age, is that they’re simply not all that easy to reach. As joints stiffen and bending becomes difficult, feet are an unfortunate casualty of a constricted personal hygiene routine.
It’s no surprise, then, that problems with our feet tend to become more common the older we get. That’s exactly why Northwest Adult Day Health began offering foot care services for the elderly in 2016.
Are your feet causing you trouble? Here are four prodigious pedal problems faced by the elderly, why they matter, and what to do about them:
Cracked heels: As our feet dry out, our heels can crack and create open sores that, in addition to being quite painful, can also be invitations for infection. Regular maintenance with lotions and other foot balms go a long way to preventing overly dry feet.
Callouses and corns: These painful developments are the result of repeated friction from walking, and over time they can become so painful that some older adults stop walking altogether. Regular foot care can help identify and treat these problems — which usually occur on the heels and toes, where shoes repeatedly rub against the foot’s bony areas — before they become debilitating issues. Activity is critical to maintaining health as we age, and the ability to walk well is a key component.
Ingrown toenails: This is another painful condition that can keep the elderly from walking normally. Anything that affects our feet can lead to increased risk for falls, especially if we walk differently to avoid pain, so it’s important that ingrown toenails are treated as soon as possible. Regular foot care at a podiatrist’s office, or provided to members at Northwest Adult Day Health, can ensure painful conditions like ingrown toenails aren’t allowed to develop.
Athlete’s foot: Sure, we might have stopped thinking of ourselves as athletes years ago, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune from athlete’s foot. It’s actually a fungal infection that occurs in areas of the body that are allowed to remain moist, such as the feet. It’s usually accompanied by itching, burning and stinging, and who wants that?
Of course, some problems are best treated by a licensed podiatrist. When it comes to in-depth foot issues, NWADH can recommend additional avenues of care.
For more information on NWADH’s health and wellness services, contact our care team today.