Every week or so you likely take a clippers to your finger and toenails. This prevents them from becoming too long or getting jagged and possibly even cutting you. Not all seniors are mobile or flexible and can address their own foot care, but that doesn't mean you don't need to have it done. Read on to understand more about senior foot care.
Why is foot care important
Yes, cutting and shaping your toenails is important to keep your feet looking nice. However, did you know that the condition of a person's feet can provide insight into their health? Seniors should keep an eye on their toenails as discoloration, chipping or changes in shape (think dents and groves in the nail bed) may mean larger problems. Seniors who have diabetes are at particular risk of foot problems. The American Diabetes Association noted that diabetes can damage nerve endings in the feet, reducing an individual's ability to discern if their feet are hot or cold. It can also lead to loss of feeling which may cause injuries. Poor blood flow is also common in seniors and can cause foot problems, so checking your feet weekly is an important part of managing your overall health.
What should I do to take care of my feet?
Staying hydrated may help seniors reduce dryness and itchiness that often comes with winter and constantly wearing socks and shoes. Cut or file your toenails whenever they are so long they bother you or might catch on your socks. Apply lotion before bed and add socks to keep the moisture in place over night. Always wait to wear shoes until your feet have dried after a shower or bath. If you have calluses and corns, consider seeing a podiatrist who may be able to remove them. These skin conditions can be painful and make walking an unpleasant experience, so managing them is important. You may also consider taking a foot bath with warm water and Epsom salts to relieve arthritis pain and relax.
What if I can't take care of my own feet?
You may not be able to bend over to properly address foot care. In this case, ask a friend or family member to help out. Many assisted living communities offer personal hygiene helpers or even have a podiatrist stop by regularly to ensure residents are getting the care they need. These individuals can cut nails, file sharp edges, buff calluses and provide other foot-related care. Podiatrists may offer insight into any foot pain or nerve issues you might be having, so be sure to talk with one if you have any concerns. If you experience poor blood flow in your extremities, someone can give you a foot massage. This will restore blood flow and also bring back warmth into your feet. Always pay extra attention to your feet in cold weather and dress properly to avoid frostbite.