Feet are meant to last a lifetime. Aging, however, isn’t always easy on the body, your feet included. The wear and tear of standing, walking, and participating in your favorite activities can take its toll on your lower limbs over the years. Investing in geriatric foot care can help you keep your feet strong and healthy, no matter what your age.
The Effects of Aging
The human body doesn’t function quite as efficiently as people get older. Skin becomes thinner and looser, muscles weaken, and your senses deteriorate. The feet are no exception. It becomes harder to stay mobile and participate in many activities as you age. Your lower limbs are more prone to corns and calluses, toenail problems, fungal infections, arch or heel pain, bunions, and other deformities or biomechanical issues. Weakened lower limbs are also less stable, increasing your risks for injuries like sprains or fractures.
Senior foot care works to keep feet healthy and alleviate any pain. This includes keeping your feet clean and inspecting them for changes. Wearing the appropriate footwear and conditioning them for activity are important factors as well. Dr. Robert Parker and our staff can help you establish the right geriatric foot care habits to stay healthy and pain-free.
Daily foot care habits shouldn’t change much as you get older. If anything, they should become more intentional. Clean feet help prevent infections. Wash your lower limbs every day with a mild soap and pat your feet completely dry with a towel. Make sure you dry in between your toes. If you’re caring for an older family member, you may need to help him or her with this. If you don’t have diabetes, you can gently sand down calluses with a pumice stone as well. Clip your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown or over-long nails. Moisturize the skin on your feet every day, too, to keep skin flexible and smooth.
While you’re working on your foot hygiene, take the time to inspect your lower limbs for abnormal changes. It’s fairly easy for problematic symptoms to go unnoticed, and thus untreated. This is particularly true for people with diabetes. Watch for skin or nail discoloration, bruises, lumps, bumps, blisters, cuts, or other visible changes. Run your hands over your feet to check for sore spots, temperature changes, and numbness as well.
Protecting Your Lower Limbs
Your footwear is a crucial factor for protecting your feet from injuries and pain. Make sure your shoes fit correctly and accommodate your lower limb needs. This may mean giving up worn-out pairs, high heels, and unsupportive styles in favor of more comfortable, stable pairs. If you have biomechanical issues or current foot conditions, you may need orthotics to help complement your footwear and better support your lower limbs.
Exercising your feet should also be a part of good senior foot care. It has a variety of benefits, from improving balance and stability to increasing your circulation. Exercising doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult to achieve these benefits. Walking is one of the best activities you can do, particularly as you age. Basic aerobics, balancing activities, and simple stretches are all good for your lower limbs and easy to work into regular routines.
Aging is inevitable, but foot pain doesn’t have to be. Investing in geriatric foot care can help you stay on your feet without discomfort as you get older. Don’t wait until you’re struggling to stay mobile to take care of your lower limbs. Let Dr. Robert Parker of Parker Foot & Ankle help you. You can make an appointment by calling (281) 497-2850, or by using the website contact form.
Photo credit: Witthaya Phonsawat via freedigitalphotos.net