A female caregiver helping a senior male put on shoes A female caregiver helping a senior male put on shoes

Happy Feet, Happy Life: The Importance of Senior Foot Care

The old phrase “Feet, do your stuff” is a reminder of how most of us take our “dogs” for granted. Those of us in good health don’t need to give a second thought to our feet doing their thing. From intention to movement, our feet go into action automatically. It only becomes an issue when an injury or a wound hampers our mobility. The lingering effects of a break, bruise, sprain, blister, splinter, bunion, corn, callus, cut, rash or swelling can seriously constrict movement. Imagine how much more challenging it can be for a senior to get around if their mobility is compromised due to a foot problem or underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or arthritis.

As the risk for morbidities increases with age, senior foot care is important because feet not only reveal signs of illness or disease, but improper care can create various maladies that decrease quality of life.

Reading Your Feet

Dry skin, brittle nails, discoloration, feelings of cold or numbness, and burning, tingling sensations can all be warning signs of serious illness, including diabetes, arthritis or circulatory disease. That’s why experts recommend regularly inspecting your feet—either doing it yourself or having your spouse or caregiver do it—to check for any warning signs or changes. If something doesn’t look or feel right, consult your primary care physician or a podiatrist.

Senior Foot Health Issues

With aging, our feet tend to spread and lose the natural fatty pads that cushion the bottom of the heels and balls of our feet, which in turn help us absorb the impact and stress we experience walking, running and jumping. That means the older we get, the less tolerance we may have for some of those activities without added support from special insoles, socks and shoes designed to provide extra cushioning and comfort. Depending on the severity and cause of a senior’s foot pain or soreness, they may need to buy podiatrist-approved supports.

Taking Steps in the Right Direction for Senior Foot Care

Experts advise these feet-friendly tips to increase senior foot health:

  • A shoe with a firm sole and soft upper that can be laced, buckled or strapped is best for daily activities. The key is having a shoe with adequate support and a snug fit to provide optimal comfort and stability. It’s also a good idea to have shoes with nonslip bottoms that grip whatever surface you’re on.
  • Get your feet measured more often as you age because your shoe size may change. If you have foot pain, it could be from an ill-fitting pair of shoes. Going to a shoe store for a fitting is an opportunity to try out shoes with more support to see how they feel.
  • Carrying more than a few extra pounds can place more strain on your feet than you can safely and comfortably tolerate, which may motivate you to lose weight.
  • Maintaining your toenails will help avoid the discomfort of overgrown, broken or thick nails. If you have trouble bending down or seeing your nails to cut them yourself, have a podiatrist do it.
  • Make foot care part of your self-care regimen by soaking your feet in lukewarm water, followed by drying, moisturizing and massaging.
  • If walking, running, dancing, gardening or playing with your grandkids are activities you can tolerate, then by all means have your feet do their stuff and enjoy the added benefits of exercise, recreation and socializing.

Happy Feet, Happy Life

Whatever you do, don’t neglect your feet. Foot care is crucial for healthy aging. Put your best foot forward and take good care of them so you can enjoy all the things they are meant to enable you to do in your golden years.

How Right at Home Can Help

Right at Home’s professional caregivers can provide many in-home care services, including assisting with many daily hygiene tasks, such as foot care. It can be harder for those growing older or experiencing vision loss, mobility reduction, dementia or other health concerns to inspect, monitor and care for their feet properly. Caregivers can also provide transportation to physician appointments, medication and other health reminders, and mobility assistance. Find your local Right at Home office and ask for a free in-home consultation to get more information.

Author Leo Adam Biga

Leo Adam Biga is a veteran freelance journalist and author who writes stories about people, their passions and their magnificent obsessions. The Omaha native and University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate is the author of “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film.” Follow his work at https://www.facebook.com/LeoAdamBiga.

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