Foot Care for the Elderly

As people age, there is a tendency to slow down and even completely stop moving. This is very bad for a whole slew of reasons, primarily that it usually results in an increasing challenge to maintain independence.

So what can be done to turn this process around? First, not presume that it has to happen. Second, stay active and third, get regular medical checks no different body parts, in particular, those that are often neglected such as the hands and feet. Indeed, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), while some foot problems are genetic (and thus little can be done to prevent them from occurring), the majority of them actually occur because people are not giving adequate attention and care to them. People who become overweight are more prone since bone and ligament structure can be negatively affected. Given that bone issues are a factor, women are four times more likely to suffer than their male counterparts.

What has been found in studies undertaken by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics is that in nursing homes, a sixth of patients need help walking and a further quarter cannot walk at all. With these statistics, if feet receive the proper care and treatment, mobility and independence can be the result. Especially since, according to APMA President, Dr. Ross Taubman, “foot problems can lead to debilitating knee, hip and lower back pain.”

So, for seniors to turn this around, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has some advice. This includes:

  1. Make annual check ups to the podiatrist.
  2. Walk as much as possible. With feet it’s very much a case of “use it or lose it.” Your feet get much stronger with walking.
  3. Don’t wear restricting stockings, socks, etc.
  4. Every day make sure you wash your feet with lukewarm water and moisturizing soap and thereafter, pat them dry and massage with lotion. Check them every day for any changes.
  5. Every time you buy a new pair of shoes, make sure your feet get measured again as age tends to lead to foot expansion.

True, feet need greater care as we age. But with due diligence and common-sense, many problems can be avoided.