Typical Elderly Foot Conditions
Hyperkeratosis – generically referred to as corns (calluses), this condition is characterised by an excess of keratin, as a result of physical forces acting on the skin such as rubbing of the shoe, abnormal weight distribution due to posture alterations and obesity.
Thickening of nails (onychauxis) – this is a consequence of micro-traumas of the nail against the shoe, due to four major causes: wrong footwear, increased toe rigidity, of foot changes in the shape and/or structure of the foot such as of the toenail digital structure, changes in toe numbers/structure, increased rigidity of toe articulations and reduced space within the shoe due to insoles.
Other Nail conditions – such as onychogryphosis (or Ram’s horn nail, a condition where one side of the toenail grows faster than the other), onychocryptosis (ingrown toenail) and onycholysis (a separation between the nail and nail bed).
A podiatrist can treat most of these conditions, allowing immediate use of footwear and immediate improvements in both walking and pain management.
Why it is so important to take care of your Feet foot elderly
Foot conditions very often result in pain and compromised mobility which can affect everyday life and a person’s self-sufficiency to the point of having serious repercussions for both the individual and their family. An elderly person who is afraid of standing and walking is also more likely to give up on complex activities such as bathing or showering, cutting toenails, doing housework, climbing stairs and leaving the house. But if a person can’t stand up and walk independently, this is bound to also affect more basic skills such as taking care of personal hygiene (hand and face washing, dressing and undressing, using the bathroom and getting in and out of bed). In this regard, regular and proper foot care can significantly reduce the risk of falls and fractures, but also improve the general quality of life of an elderly person.
Useful Tips for Foot Care elderly
When providing care for an elderly person, you should always pay attention to the following in regards to their feet:
1 – Check the elderly person’s feet on a regular basis – every day if they are diabetic. Since blood circulation slows down as people age, an older person may not feel or notice a problem in its early stages. Pay attention to things such as ingrown toenails, nail fungus, corns, calluses and skin ulcers.
2 – Wash the feet daily with a mild, moisturizing soap, and rinse with warm water (about 37 degrees). Dry the feet delicately but thoroughly with a clean towel, taking care to also dry between the toes.
3 – Keep the toenails trimmed, but avoid trimming too close to the skin. Cut the nail straight, and avoid bending the nail, as this increases the risk of an ingrown toenail. Clean under the toenails after you finish cutting them. If the person is diabetic or has particularly thick toenails, it might be worth getting the help of a podiatrist for this as the risk of wounds and infections is increased.
4 – If the feet are extremely dry and chapped you should use a lotion to moisturize and let it absorb properly before putting on any shoes.
5 – Socks should be changed every day, preferring those made in natural fiber. Also, ensure that only suitable and comfortable shoes are worn, that are wide enough for the foot, closed, with a rounded toe, and heels no higher than 3-4 cm. Also, it is not good to wear a pair of new shoes for many hours in a row.
6 – Take your loved one to a podiatrist if you notice painful calluses or bunions or other foot disorders, as it is important to seek a professional practitioner.