Did you know that in 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated approximately 15% of the US population was over the age of 65, and is expected to increase? This is because aging is a natural biological process that happens to everyone. As our bodies age, they undergo natural wear-and-tear, blood circulation and vision declines, the skin becomes thinner and more fragile, and people are often less mobile. Each of these changes can make people more susceptible to illness and injury, including foot injuries. Since we are only given one pair of feet, it becomes important to take care of them, and can be more difficult as we age. It is also important for individuals being treated for diabetes, heart conditions, gout, and many other conditions that can also affect your feet. When these conditions are not treated properly, foot symptoms can develop quickly, and lead to serious issues such as infections or falling.
Proper Senior Foot Care
Learning proper foot care can help maintain foot health and help patients be aware of conditions that need to be addressed by a podiatrist. The following are some tips on how to properly care for your feet:
- Wash your feet carefully everyday and visually check them for any unusual changes
- Always wear clean, dry socks and shoes, including when you are indoors
- Wear shoes that are properly fitted and provide stability
- Stay active as you are able – this will help increase blood circulation
- Avoid smoking – smoking decreases blood circulation and affects breathing capacity
- Keep your toe nails clean and trimmed
When Should I see a Podiatrist?
Whenever foot issues arise, it is always best to treat them early before they become worse. Often, pain and other foot symptoms are an indicator or side effect of more serious conditions (diabetes, gout, arthritis, decreased circulation, etc.). Seniors and care providers should see a podiatrist if they start to notice any of the following:
- Foot pain – pain can be debilitating and should always be addressed. Tell your podiatrist if the pain prevents you from sleeping
- Changes in skin color or temperature of the feet (hot or cold) – This is often an indication of decreased blood circulation or inflammation caused by infection or another condition
- Discoloring or brittle toe nails – If you are having difficulty maintaining proper nail care, see a podiatrist, and they will properly trim them to prevent ingrown toenails
- Continual tingling, and/or numbness in your feet – Can be related to neuropathy caused by diabetes or another ailment
- Blisters, calluses, corns, or cracked skin
- Wounds that do not seem to be healing
- Difficulty keeping balance or walking – Your podiatrist will perform a Fall Assessment
Aging can take its toll on the body, especially feet. If you are a senior and are concerned about your foot health, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We will explain all your treatment options to available to you to help improve your health, function, and overall quality of life.