Our feet will carry us somewhere around 110,000 miles over the course of our lives – that’s 216,262,500 steps! It is truly not surprising that as we grow older, our feet can begin to have a variety of challenges. A number of the more widespread foot ailments for the elderly include:
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis has an effect on various joints through the body, and the feet aren’t an exception. Women can be more prone to be diagnosed with arthritis in later years – 16% of senior women compared to 10% of senior men. Other risk factors include previous injury to the foot or ankle, being overweight, bunions, and hammertoe.
- Gout: A specific kind of arthritis, gout is an autoimmune disease that may cause terrible discomfort because of accumulated uric acid crystals that surround a joint, most often presenting initially within the big toe.
- Dry Skin: Left untreated, dry skin on the feet can cause discomfort when walking, and enable bacteria to be introduced, creating the potential for an infection in the feet. Applying moisturizer to the feet each day as a preventative measure before skin gets damaged can help.
- Flat Feet: Resulting from stretched ligaments that can take place in aging, this condition leads to discomfort and inflammation within the arch of the foot and inner ankle, and frequently up through the lower back, hip and knee as well. Flat feet can cause a senior to have balance and stability issues and increase the possibility of sprains to the feet and ankles.
- Seborrheic Keratosis: Often known as stucco keratosis, this condition will cause lesions to appear on the tops of the ankles, feet, and/or toes that can be incorrectly identified as warts. While not painful, these lesions can lead to itching and irritation, especially when shoes are worn.
- Toenail Changes: As we grow older, toenails thicken and become more brittle, which causes them to be harder to clip. Nails may also change in color and develop ridges and cracks.
- Circulation: Edema (built-up fluids), medication side effects, and diabetes, along with other circumstances, can bring about circulation problems for seniors. Swelling, numbness and tingling in the feet and legs are typical warning signs of circulatory concerns.
- Shortened Achilles Tendon: The Achilles (and other tendons) can lose water in the aging process, which may shorten them and make them far less flexible, more at risk of tears or ruptures, and result in a flatfooted gait.
Any changes in the feet should be brought to the attention of the senior’s physician, plus it’s also a good idea to set up routine appointments for your loved one with a podiatrist, who will provide nail care and keep a close watch for any potential issues.
Home With You Senior Care can assist in a variety of ways to ensure healthy feet for seniors, such as:
- Senior transportation to medical appointments
- Ensuring appropriate senior nutrition and hydration
- Encouraging safe, physician-approved senior exercise
- Evaluating the home for fall dangers
- And much more
Take the first step to improving health for your senior loved one! Home With You Senior Care is the top choice for Columbia home health care services. To learn more about our services, including our specialty services, reach out to us at 410-756-0959 today.