SnowBrains.com confirms this by reporting “the average person with the usual stride living until 80 will walk a distance of around 110,000 miles,” an average of 7,500 steps daily or five long hikes around the equator. No wonder feet ache! Keeping them healthy, especially in the golden years, is important.
The Aging Foot
Feet, of course, age with the rest of the body. Changes begin to be noticed in toenails, skin or surprisingly… length and width. All are a part of the natural aging process.
Shoe sizes will change with age. Decades of supporting body weight causes feet to grow and flatten. Tendons stretching along the soles of feet elongate and could cause painful bunions. Feet lose their natural cushion as fat pads on soles begin to thin.
Stiffness and diminished flexibility occur with a loss of range of motion. Stretching exercises are helpful to maintain flexibility and strengthen muscles. Exercise cannot be stressed enough for a healthy aging process including feet.
Seniors experience swelling in feet, ankles and lower legs due to poor circulation, heart disease, hormonal changes or reduced activity. Certain medications cause swelling. Make an appointment with a doctor if you have swelling not caused by an injury.
The Importance of Foot Care for Older Adults
Have you ever walked with a pebble in your shoe? Such a tiny object affects balance, comfort and focus. Caring for feet is more important than only removing a stone from your shoe. Strong, healthy feet and ankles sustain mobility, lessen the chances of a fall and promote good circulation. An active lifestyle is difficult without balance.
Health problems are often forecast by feet. Changes in feet such as swelling, color, sensitivity or temperature indicate it is time to consult a physician.
- Consider the following tips to help maintain healthy feet; Keep them clean and dry. Wash feet on a consistent basis with warm soapy water, rinse well and pat dry with a soft cloth. Check for problems with nails and skin.
- Moisturize. Aging skin is thinner and drier, making feet vulnerable to itching and cracking. Use a thick moisturizer to keep skin soft but avoid rubbing it between toes. Creating too moist an environment could lead to infection.
- Examine feet daily for blisters, cuts, ingrown toenails, swelling or red spots. Make an appointment to see a doctor if concerns are noticed.
- Trim toenails correctly, not too long and not too short. Ask for assistance if unable to do this yourself. Cut nails straight across and not curved. Ingrown toenails result from cutting nails too close to the skin.
- Stay active to keep foot circulation at proper levels.
- Smoking causes problems with blood flow to lower extremities. Consider seeking help to stop tobacco use.
- Avoid wearing tight or poorly fitting shoes. Look for shoes in the right width and length. Allow for room in the “toe box” portion to allow your toes to move. Feet should not slide around in shoes with a proper fit.
Common Diagnoses Affect Feet
A number of diagnoses are typical in advancing age. Arthritis pain occurs in every part of the body, including ankles and feet. Arches fall causing flat feet. A podiatrist is able to recommend special insoles for shoes and customize them when necessary.
Gout is not only painful but may cause swelling and feet to darken. A visit to your doctor or podiatrist will give an accurate diagnosis.
If you are a diabetic and notice a sore developing on your foot or legs, have it examined as soon as possible. Diabetic ulcers are serious.
Ingrown toenails are painful. As a nail grows and curves into the toe, it causes swelling, bleeding and infection. Ingrown toenails should be treated quickly to prevent complications.
Healthy feet support independence by safeguarding mobility. Feet are the foundation on which you stand, no pun intended. Keep them strong and healthy by including them in your health routine.
Seniors living active lifestyles who want or need to move into Senior Living communities find the transition easier when healthy. Bridge to Better Living invites Seniors, their loved ones and families to contact Bridge to Better Living and start the process. Bridge to Better Living is your go-to place for information and assistance with Retirement Living options. Contact Bridge to Better Living by phone, email or on the website. Bridge to Better Living looks forward to helping you make a smooth transition into Retirement Living. We take each step with your best interests in mind.