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Helping you and your loved ones live well in later life

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MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Top tips for elderly foot care

We look at the importance of foot care and some top tips that family members can follow to manage their elderly loved one's foot care.

May 03, 2023

Elderly lady stretching her feet

Feet play an essential role in helping the elderly remain independent, move around unassisted and maintain balance. By remaining active, older adults are more likely to continue socialising with friends and family, take part in physical activities, and generally live a good quality of life

Importance of foot care in elderly

However, as we age, foot health declines and the elderly become susceptible to conditions including calluses, dry skin, fungal infections, and corns. Moreover, the skin under the feet becomes thinner and loses elasticity, leading to cracks, dryness, and other foot complications.

It becomes difficult for older adults to address these foot complications adequately due to health complications like poor eyesight, agility and mobility. These problems can affect older adults' confidence, further impacting their balance and increasing the risk of falls.

For older adults who have type 2 diabetes, proper foot care is especially important as they are more exposed towards developing foot problems due to poor circulation and nerve damage. This can result in foot ulcers, infections, and other complications that can be serious if left untreated.

Maintaining healthy feet for the elderly is essential to help them stay mobile and independent. This insightful article looks at tips for older adults and their family members to manage proper foot care for the elderly.

Wear shoes that fit well

Elderly woman with proper fitting shoes

Wearing comfortable shoes is essential to maintain balance, avoid falls and reduce the risk of injuries. You should avoid buying shoes that slide or rub around your heel while walking, which can cause blisters and severe sores. In addition, wearing shoes smaller than your size can cause corns that can harm the skin and cause discomfort.  

Keep your feet clean and dry, especially around and between the toes

Your skin becomes fragile after being exposed to moisture, further causing damage to your skin. Therefore, it's essential to completely dry your feet after being in the water for a long time, such as after a bath or swimming. Also, regularly changing your socks and avoiding shoes worn with wet or sweaty feet is crucial for maintaining good hygiene and preventing unpleasant odours.

 

Keep your feet well-moisturised

Keep your feet dry but not too dry, as this can cause cracks in your heels, burning and calluses. Always use a gentle soap and moisturise your feet using simple and cost-effective products, such as petroleum jelly, after your shower or bath. 

Regularly trimming your nails is a healthy habit to maintain

Keeping your toenails trimmed straight across and at least as long as your toe tip is crucial to preventing ingrown toenails.

If you have difficulty reaching your feet, scheduling regular medical pedicures and trimming with a podiatrist is recommended. In addition, professional care may be needed for seniors with health conditions affecting their feet, like diabetes. If your elderly loved one has dementia and is scared or uncomfortable about getting their toenails trimmed, you can create a more relaxing experience for them. One way to do this is by soaking and massaging their feet before cutting or putting on their favourite TV show or movie to distract them.

 

See your physician if you are experiencing pain 

It's essential to address any pain or discomfort in the feet, especially as they can indicate underlying conditions like arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, or injuries like plantar fasciitis. If your elderly loved one is experiencing any symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, stiffness or inflammation in their feet or ankles, it is best to take them to a general physician or podiatrist for a thorough examination as soon as possible. By catching any early warning signs, you can prevent any potential medical complications down the line.

 

Exercise regularly

Elderly woman taking care of her feet

If you spend a lot of time sitting, taking short walks and doing gentle stretches would be beneficial.

Completing a low-intensity workout will help you maintain weight and improve your circulation. Although many elderly people might find it challenging to do vigorous exercises, it's crucial to perform gentle stretches whenever possible. These little movements will also help boost circulation and keep the blood flowing. If you experience severe pain or have underlying foot conditions, it’s important to consult your physician before starting any form of foot exercises.

 

Visit a professional carer if experiencing foot conditions

Some foot conditions, such as bunions, hammer toes, discoloured toenails, corns and calluses, may not seem severe. Still, it's vital to have them evaluated by a podiatrist, especially for the elderly. This evaluation can prevent infections and other harmful developments in the future. A foot expert may suggest simple solutions like wearing orthotic aids, toe separators, bunions pads, and ankle braces. They may also recommend changing footwear or treating skin or nail conditions. 

 

Tips for improving confidence if mobility is limited

Digital fall alarm

Many people have elderly family members who struggle with walking independently or have foot conditions that limit their mobility. As a result, they may be more likely to have an accident or fall while no-one is around and this can affect their confidence.

One potential solution to improve confidence is a personal fall alarm. You can compare the different types of personal alarms available for the elderly to find the most suitable one for the specific situation and individual in question. For example, options such as automatic fall detection and elderly GPS tracker alarms can help locate the wearer in the event of an incident. With just one push of a button, the 24/7 Emergency Resolution Team can be alerted, and the necessary assistance can be arranged if needed. This can provide peace of mind for both the family member and their loved ones.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure


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