Foot Care Advice for Seniors and Caregivers

Some feet travel the world, while others stay and help build a life in one place. Regardless of how your feet spent the majority of their years, however, time can begin to take its toll as we enter the later decades of our lives.

Aging feet need extra care. Sometimes this care comes solely from the person themselves; other times, a caregiver’s assistance may be required. It’s important for all parties involved to know the best practices for managing existing foot conditions and helping to prevent future problems from robbing comfort and mobility.

At Brook Valley Podiatry, we believe that the best foot care involves a proactive approach to health and the inclusion of everyone involved. That is why we are more than willing to meet with seniors and others in their lives to discuss best plans for at-home care and professional check-ups and treatment.

What Risks Do Aging Feet Have?

As we grow older, various factors can affect the ongoing health of our feet. Some examples include:

  • Poor circulation.
  • Increased dryness of skin.
  • Thickening of toenails.
  • Loss of fatty padding that protects areas of the feet.
  • Increased risk of diabetes and other diseases that can contribute to foot problems.
  • Years of “wear and tear” from walking, working, and old injuries.

As our feet grow more vulnerable to aches, pains, and other problems, it will always be best to approach these issues before they have a chance to become even more problematic. Of course, if they already are problematic, they should receive attention as soon as possible!

Senior Foot Care at Home

Ideally, the health of aging feet should be a consideration every day. This does not mean the task has to be all-consuming or difficult, though.

Regular at-home foot care consists of the following general principles:

Inspecting Feet for Signs of Trouble

Due to poor circulation and other factors, injuries and other foot problems may go unnoticed or fail to heal properly. That makes discovering them in a timely manner important, especially if diabetes is part of the equation.

Challenges in mobility or vision may impair one’s ability to check their feet properly. There are tools and methods that can make the task easier, but the help of a loved one is also always welcome.

Keeping Feet Dry and Clean

Neglecting hygiene and frequent exposure to damp conditions will often lead to fungal infections including athlete’s foot and yellowed, discolored fungal toenails.

Feet should be washed daily in warm water with mild soap, and then dried thoroughly (including between the toes). After feet are dry, it is wise to apply some moisturizer and socks that are fresh, breathable, and comfortable.

Sometimes a loved one is not able to accomplish tasks completely on their own anymore, and require some assistance. Caretaking is a very important job, and we want to help everyone know the best ways to care for their loved ones with confidence.

We have a free short guide for caregivers to provide a foundation for support. Please visit our download page to request your own digital copy, and never hesitate to reach out to us whenever you may have questions about senior foot care.

To schedule an appointment with Brook Valley Podiatry, call (845) 352-7507 to reach our Spring Valley office. If you prefer, you can also fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will reach out to you.

Trimming Toenails Carefully

Do you know the right way to trim toenails? Here’s how: cut them straight across (without rounding the corners) and keep them about even with the tip of the toe. This can reduce the risks of painful ingrown toenails.

Since toenails tend to thicken with age, you may wish to invest in a bigger, stronger clipper that provides better leverage and ease of clipping.

Refreshing Your Shoes

A comfortable, properly fitting pair of shoes is critical to avoiding pain from bunions and hammertoes, as well as protecting against friction and other sources of trouble. Unfortunately, many of us tend to stop investing in new shoes as often as we need to in older age.

Ideally, purchase at least two pairs of shoes at a time, so they can be rotated every other day. This gives each pair at least 24 hours to dry out between uses, helping to protect against fungal infections and odor.

Remaining Moving

Different people have different levels of mobility. That said, exercise and activity helps strengthen feet and ankles and improves circulation.

Exercise demands don’t need to be rigorous to have a positive effect. A standard walk is excellent for feet and ankles, and simple stretches and exercises can be performed if mobility is limited.

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