Foot Care for Senior Citizens

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Published: 27th October 2009
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It is not uncommon for senior citizens to experience foot problems. These problems can be the result of the normal wear and tear on feet that occurs over time. Or, they can be a sign of a more serious illness like arthritis, diabetes, and nerve or circulatory disorders. Because of this, it is important that senior citizens practice good foot care. Health care providers or family members responsible for senior citizen elder care should help with foot care.



Be sure to check feet regularly. If you feel that you have a serious problem, check with your doctor, who can then refer you to a podiatrist if necessary. You can also put your feet up when you sit to improve circulation, stretch and walk regularly, massage your feet, talk a warm foot bath and dry feet carefully afterwards, and always avoid shoes that don not fit properly.



The pressure on feet caused from shoes that do not fit correctly can cause unnecessary problems. Here are some tips for wearing correctly fitting shoes:

* Shoe size can sometimes change with age. You should measure your feet regularly and do it at the end of the day when your feet are largest.

* Most people have one foot that is larger than the other. Be sure to fit shoes to the larger foot.

* Always try shoes on before purchasing them.

* Walk in shoes before purchasing them to be sure they feel right.

* Choose a shoe that is shaped like a foot, avoid heels or designer shoes that do not look or feel comfortable.

* Be sure that the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe.

* Do not buy shoes that are tight in hopes that they will stretch

* The heel of the shoe should not slide up and down your foot as you walk.

* The upper part of the shoe should be made of soft bendable material to match the shape of your foot.

* Soles should be solid fitting and not slip, thick soles will cushion your feet when walking on hard surfaces.

* Low heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer, and easier on your feet.



Common Problems



Fungal Infections. This can include athlete's foot. Fungal infections thrive where it is moist, dark, and warm, like in a shoe. Fungal infections produce dry skin, redness, blisters, itching, and peeling. There are many over the counter treatments available to cure these infections. You can prevent infection by keeping your feet clean and dry, changing shoes and socks to keep feet dry, buying well-fitting shoes that are not too tight, or dusting feet with medicated foot powder



Dry Skin. This can lead to itching and burning feet. Using a mild soap, lotion, or adding oils to bathwater can help with this.



Corns and Calluses. This is caused by bones in feet rubbing against the shoe and results in rough skin. You can wear special shoes or put extra padding in your shoes to prevent this.



Warts. Viruses cause these skin growths. They can generally be treated by over the counter medications.



Bunions. When the joints in your big toe no longer fit together, they can become swollen and tender. Treatment can include wrapping the foot, wearing special shoes that pad or protect the tender areas from friction, surgery, or physical therapy.



Ingrown Toenails. If you do not cut your toenails straight, the nail can break the skin if it grows back at an angle. This may causes bleeding and discomfort. Cutting nails regularly or removing the nail with surgery is used to treat this condition hammertoe. When the tendons that control toe movements shorten, the toe knuckle grows and pulls the toe back, causing the joint to stiffen over time and rub against the shoe. This can interfere with balance. To treat this, people can either wear socks and shoes that provide more room and comfort or get surgery if necessary.



Spurs. Stress on the feet can cause calcium bumps to grow on the bones of feet. This can become more uncomfortable if more stress is put on those areas by poorly fitting shoes or standing for long periods of time. To relieve symptoms, people can wear foot supports, foot pads, or get surgery if needed.



Swelling. This can be a sign of more serious problems. If you have consistently swollen feet, you should see a doctor.



If you have a disease that is known to affect your feet such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease, monitoring your feet is very important. These diseases can cause poor blood flow to the feet and untreated bruises or scrapes can become infected more easily. Whether you have a disease like this or not, be sure that you doctor checks you feet regularly during appointments.

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