As we get older, our feet tend to change in a number of ways. We may experience less elasticity in our skin, dryness, and cracking. These changes can lead to discomfort and even pain. At least 80% of seniors have issues with their feet and among a variety of problems that naturally come with age, what happens to our feet is preventable. The thing is, each foot has over 8,000 nerve endings. What this means is that our feet are able to feel a wide variety of sensations, both good and bad. For seniors, susceptibility to pinched nerves, fallen arches, ulcers, and even a loss of foot padding is far more likely. Due to this, it’s important to know more about the part of your body that carries you every day.
If you’re a senior living in Florida, keep reading to learn more about your feet as you age and what you need to know to keep them functioning and healthy.
Why Foot Health Is Essential for Seniors
Your feet are responsible for locomotion, balance, and posture. They provide stabilization for the rest of your body. Something to consider is that if anything is wrong with the feet, it can have a big impact on the rest of the body and your general quality of life.
Foot health is essential for seniors in order to prevent long-term medical problems that can be caused by neglect. Poor foot health can lead to issues such as arthritis especially in terms of untreated injuries, swelling, joint pain, ingrown toenails, and infections. Seniors should be especially mindful of their feet and take the necessary precautions to maintain proper care such as routinely checking for ailments and injuries such as inflammation, open wounds, discoloration, or unexplained pain.
Additionally, seniors should be practicing proactive tactics to better maintain their health such as wearing properly fitting shoes, socks made with moisture-wicking fabrics, and shoes with cushioning support in order to help keep their feet healthy as they age. For seniors, you should also regularly consult with a podiatrist when you have active issues concerning your feet because oftentimes, overlooking these types of problems can also cause those that you might not initially have had.
What Are Common Problems That Seniors Often Experience With Their Feet?
Seniors are at an increased risk of developing pathologies in their feet due to age-related changes to the skin, nerves, and bones. Common problems that they may experience include;
- Toenail fungus
- Hammer Toe
- Morton’s Neuroma
An important part of preventing foot problems is regular physical activity and maintaining proper foot hygiene. Additionally, wearing fitted shoes that provide enough arch support can help reduce a senior’s risk for foot injury or breakdown. Encouraging yourself to complete routine check-ups with a podiatrist ensures early diagnosis and treatment for common complications caused by poor foot health. Keep in mind that while being seen by a professional is always recommended, seniors will know what does and doesn’t feel comfortable for themselves before anyone else will.
Pay close attention to what you do and the places that you go as a senior. For seniors living in Florida, regularly walking, jogging, or running on uneven ground can put a strain on your feet especially if you don’t practice consistent stretching. This means taking your time while at the beach and being careful when hiking or even doing light nature walks.
How Can Seniors Prevent or Minimize the Effects of Aging on Their Feet?
Seniors can take steps to prevent the effects of aging on their feet by being aware of their foot health and care routines. Regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or exercise classes helps to improve circulation and build muscular strength in the legs which can help keep the feet strong, conditioned, and healthy. Additionally, seniors should replace their shoes and socks regularly and practice keeping laces tightened properly or transitioning to wearing no laces at all.
Wearing well-fitted shoes without overly high heels will provide the most comfort and support while walking and standing. This means that you should be mindful of your footwear and how long you plan to wear them if they don’t provide sufficient arch support or comfort. If current foot problems exist, recommended orthotic inserts customized for your needs should be worn to reduce strain on your feet and aid with stability.
Also, as a senior, it’s often a good idea to take an interest in self-care such as soaking sore feet a few times a week in warm water laced with Epsom salt which can help to soothe sore muscles and stimulates circulation as well. Seeking care from a chiropractor is also beneficial which is something that seniors should consider if this type of specialized care is appropriate for them and what they need.
Giving Yourself the Care That You Need as a Senior
Aging is inevitable and so are the things that come with age such as potential foot problems. However, it doesn’t have to be a concern if you learn how to take care of your feet and work with a podiatrist. From eating healthier, getting more exercise, taking an interest in self-care, tapping into the relieving properties of great moisturizers and creams, and sufficient hygiene, you can maintain proper foot health for longer periods of time.