Foot Care in the Older Person (Part 1)
Our feet consist of skin, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels. Our feet are vulnerable to repetitive mechanical stress and skin irritations due to repetitive daily usage. Foot problems get more common as we get older as years of use start to take their toll and medical problems such as diabetes, arthritis and poor circulation can cause foot problems. While this article is titled “foot care in the older person”, the advice here is relevant for any age-group. Whelehans Chiropody Service offer reduced price foot treatments for over 65’s.
Common foot problems in the older person
Common foot problems in the older person include dry and hard skin, corns, callouses, blisters due to friction, ingrown toenails, foot deformity (from birth or due to conditions like arthritis), fungal infection such as athletes foot and fungal nail infection, circulation problems and verrucas. These problems are usually caused by inappropriate or inadequate foot care, mechanical causes (often due to inappropriate footwear), infection and underlying medical conditions e.g. diabetic neuropathy, congenital foot deformity (foot deformity you are born with) such as flat feet, etc. Many of these foot problems can be prevented through proper daily care.
Daily care tips
Clean both feet thoroughly daily with warm water then dry both feet especially between the toes (to prevent infection between toes). Change socks daily, and choose cotton socks rather than other types. To reduce sweating, wear leather or open shoes, such as sandals. Antifungal dusting powder may be put onto the feet or into socks to absorb perspiration. Whelehans stock Daktarin® dusting powder at a very affordable price. Moisturise feet daily (except between toes which can lead to fungal infection). Trim toenails straight across; do not cut too close to the nail bed. Smooth sharp corner or edges of nails by using a nail file. Protect feet by wearing shoes whenever you go outdoors. Do not apply treatments or drugs onto foot without appropriate advice (eg) from doctor, pharmacist. Many foot treatments such as corn removal pads contain acid such as salicylic acid which can burn the skin so must be avoided in diabetics and older people with poor circulation, sensitive skin etc.
Inspect your feet regularly for skin colour, dryness, swelling or tenderness. Look out for blisters, cracks, sores, ulcers, corns and any ingrown toenails. Get advice from a chiropodist or other medical professional if you get unusual sensation such as tingling, lack of feeling or pain.
A chiropodist assesses diagnoses and treats diseases and abnormalities of the feet and lower limbs. A chiropodist can significantly improve a person’s quality of life by alleviating painful symptoms and promoting and maintaining mobility. Whelehan’s pharmacy has chiropodist James Pedley in store in our private treatment room every Tuesday and Thursday. You can make an appointment in store or by phoning us at 04493 34591. We take all safety precautions to keep you safe from COVID 19.
To be continued…next week
Thanks to Chiropodist at Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar, James Pedley for his help with this article. Call 04493 34591 to book a chiropody appointment.