It’s summertime in sunny Los Angeles and lots of people opt for sandals and bare feet. Everyone wants their feet to look their best but for seniors, it’s more than just appearances. Feet can be indicators of health problems like diabetes, nerve damage or circulation problems. Pay attention to the signs to catch issues early.
Inspect your feet daily and have your assisted living aide inspect them for you, too. Inspections should be done visually because as we age, we can lose sensation that would normally alert us to a cut or sore. You will want to keep an eye out for any lacerations or ulcers. These may be slow to heal for elderly skin and need to be attended to before an infection sets in.
Be sure to clean your feet daily and properly to prevent infection. Clean with mild soap and water and clean between the toes as well. Make sure your feet are thoroughly dry to prevent a fungal infection or Athlete’s foot. Keep your shoes clean and dry by using removable insoles.
Keep your toenails trimmed and neat. File any jagged edges and be careful not to cut down too low to prevent ingrown toenails, which may require surgery to correct. You can ask your home care aide to help if you are having trouble reaching. If your toenails are thick and discolored, alert your doctor. This is a sign of a fungal infection.
Living with Diabetes
If you are living with diabetes, it is very important to pay special attention to your feet. You should be checking for ulcers on your feet and lower legs. Again, there may be loss of sensation so be sure to visually check or ask your assisted living aide to help you. You should avoid going barefoot whenever possible and invest in orthopedic shoes to help your condition.
Make sure your shoes are comfortable and supportive. It is important to get a correct fit to prevent the formation of callouses and bunions. If you develop one of these, do not attempt to remove it on your own. Visit your doctor or podiatrist and let them take care of it for you.
Ask your podiatrist about orthotics and if they would be right for you. Your insoles would be custom made for your foot to provide the best support for your arch. These can be removed and placed in whichever shoes you choose to wear.
The best defense against foot problems in seniors is good preventative maintenance. Have your feet routinely inspected when you visit your doctor and ask for help from your assisted living aide as well. With healthy feet, you can keep on dancing, walking and enjoying life.