Our feet will transport us approximately 110,000 miles during our lives – that is 216,262,500 steps! It’s certainly no surprise that as we grow older, our feet may start to see a host of problems. Some of the more prevalent foot issues for the elderly include:
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis has an effect on numerous joints in the body, and the feet aren’t an exception. Women are more prone to be diagnosed with arthritis in later years – 16% of senior women in comparison with 10% of senior men. Other risk factors include past injury to the foot or ankle, being overweight, bunions, and hammertoe.
- Gout: A specific kind of arthritis, gout is an autoimmune disease that can cause terrible pain due to built-up uric acid crystals that surround a joint, most frequently presenting first within the big toe.
- Dry Skin: Left untreated, dry skin on the feet can cause discomfort when walking, and enable bacteria to be introduced, resulting in the possibility for an infection. Using moisturizer on the feet on a daily basis as a protective measure before skin gets damaged often helps.
- Flat Feet: Arising from stretched ligaments that can take place in the aging process, this condition generates pain and inflammation within the arch of the foot and inner ankle, and quite often up through the lower back, hip and knee, too. Flat feet may cause a senior to have balance and stability issues and increase the risk of sprains in the feet and ankles.
- Seborrheic Keratosis: Occasionally described as stucco keratosis, this problem causes lesions to show up on the tops of the ankles, feet, and/or toes that can be incorrectly identified as warts. While not painful, these lesions may cause itching and irritation, especially when shoes are worn.
- Toenail Changes: As we age, toenails thicken and become more brittle, which makes them more difficult to clip. Nails can also change in color and develop ridges and cracks.
- Circulation: Edema (built-up fluids), prescription side effects, diabetes and other conditions may bring about circulation problems for seniors. Swelling, numbness and tingling in the feet and legs are typical symptoms 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 significantly less flexible, more susceptible to tears or ruptures and bring about a flatfooted gait.
Any changes in the feet should be brought to the attention of the older adult’s primary care physician; plus, it’s always a good idea to set up routine appointments for your senior loved one with a podiatrist, who will provide nail care and maintain a close watch for any possible problems.
At-Home Care Company can help in many ways to ensure healthy feet for seniors, such as:
- Transport to medical appointments
- Ensuring appropriate nutrition and hydration
- Encouraging safe, physician-authorized exercise
- Assessing the home for fall risks
- And much more
Make the first step to improving health for your senior loved one! At-Home Care Company, home of professional senior helpers serving Des Moines and surrounding communities, offers affordable, compassionate care in the comfort of home. Reach out today at (515) 292-2650 to find out more about the top providers of home care.