Looking after our feet throughout the Golden Age
While we are young, we take our mobility for granted.
We skip, run, hop, kick and tango. Our feet lead us wherever we want to go, whenever we want, at whatever breakneck speed we choose. Likewise, trips and spills are less of an event, and our muscles rarely trouble us, and joints flow like well-oiled machines.
Then one day we wake and we feel it. Old. age. kicking. in….
As we age, maintaining our ability and agility to get around becomes of primary importance. So, to preserve our independence and quality of life we try all different tips, tricks and potions to conserve our quality of life.
We often focus on keeping our face in good condition, or thinking about our sore knees.. but what about our feet?
Just like the skin on our face that we apply different creams, potions and serums to. Similarly, feet skin can lose its elasticity. Therefore, our feet can become wrinkled and dry leading to thin, exposed skin that can easily be damaged.
As we age, we may experience the loss of soft tissue under the foot that cushions our heels, toes and the balls of our feet.
So, what can we do about this? Daily mosturising of our feet, including ankles, feet and knees will keep them supple for longer. If you can no longer reach your feet, have a friend or family member help us to do this.
Hard as Nails
As we age they become harder to cut – this can be due to our hand strength, or the strength of our nails. Likewise, along with this they also may become brittle and split easily.
Ingrown toenails become more prevalent and can lead to painful infections, soreness when walking and difficult to wear enclosed shoes.
By getting regular general podiatry appointments at a professional podiatry clinic, you can keep the pesky ingrown toe nails or long toenails at bay.
A Bone to pick
Common foot problems that increase with age arise from the fragility of our bones and their joints.
Arthritis and bunions can cause pain but also instability leading to an increased risk of falls and other injuries.
You may be asking yourself, ‘What can be done to avoid these feet problems in future?’. Here are some key tips in feet maintenance and preemptive care.
In between Podiatry appointments, these maintenance tips for feet and toenails:
Step 1 – Inspection
If you are able, inspect your feet regularly. Firstly, paying attention to the soles of your feet and in between the toes where we don’t normally see.
Secondly, Look for redness and swelling that may indicate infection.
The ability to reach down to feet or eyesight problems may make feet inspection difficult. You may want to ask for assistance from a carer, family member or friend. Alternatively, this is something the Podiatrist checks in a general podiatry appointment.
Step 2 – Keeping clean
Pay careful attention to washing feet, especially between the toes. Use a mild soap that won’t irritate or dry the skin.
Dry thoroughly, during this, ensuring you are drying between your toes – to prevent Tinea. Apply some moisturiser, to prevent dry skin/ cracks.
Do not apply between the toes, as this encourages a moist environment. Consequently encouraging Tinea/Athletes foot to grow.
Keep warm and apply clean, natural fibre socks, like wool or cotton for breath ability.
Step 3 – Trimming nails
If you are capable, keep toenails trimmed regularly.
Avoid ingrown toenails by trimming straight across the nail. Do not cut the corners.
Keep the cut even and consider using a nail file or emery board. Use downward strokes to smooth out the nail and avoid snagging on socks.
Again, seek assistance from a carer or a podiatrist if you are unable to reach your toes.
Step 4 – Shoes
It is crucial to have proper fitting shoes. Poorly fitting shoes are a common cause of many foot-related injuries and infections and induce discomfort.
Have a podiatrist measure your feet regularly as ageing feet will change in bone structure and shape.
Step 5 – Regular Podiatry check-ups
Make regular visits to your local podiatry clinic for a professional check-up.
Dry skin, brittle and ingrown nails, discolouration, and various sensations in feet, such as, tingles and numbness can all be signs of more serious health concerns.
East Gosford Podiatry has been caring for elderly feet on the Central Coast since 2005.