If you think about how many miles we put on our feet in a lifetime it is no wonder foot problems so often emerge as we age. It is helpful for everyone to have basic knowledge of podiatric care for elderly people.
Caregivers of older adults need to be mindful of good foot care and make it a priority as part of daily routine. Even seniors who are otherwise able to care for themselves often need some help in this area, just because of the difficulty of seeing and reaching their feet. Some simple care pays huge dividends as good podiatric care helps the elderly remain comfortable and mobile.
The basics for caregivers:
Caregivers need to be particularly attentive because even slight sensory losses over the years can make people less aware of problems with their own feet. When these problems are noticed as they emerge they are easily addressed. Knowing what to look for, and taking the time to check will help catch these problems early on.
Care is relatively simple. It starts with simple observation – be sure to check feet at every cleaning for any changes. Keep an eye out for circulatory problems, ingrown toenails, ulcers, fungal conditions, or other irregularities. Be especially mindful of podiatric conditions for diabetic people as these can progress rapidly and become serious if untreated.
Be sure to help keep the feet clean, dry, and warm. Clean with a mild soap, dry thoroughly and gently, and use lotion as needed to help skin remain healthy. Cut nails straight across, being careful not to curve back at the edges which would allow the nail to get under the skin.
Smart daily practices:
Once feet are clean and dry, encourage the use of clean cotton socks and properly fitted shoes. This will help prevent spurs, calluses, corns, and even fungal infections.
Maintaining good circulation in the feet and legs can be a special challenge, especially for diabetic patients. Keeping the feet elevated while sitting for any length of time is helpful, so make sure a footstool is available at each favorite seat. Also, discourage crossing the legs, which impedes circulation.
If you have any concerns or questions about foot care, please contact your St. Louis podiatrist for sound advice.