When you think about the physical condition of your loved ones, you may not think about the health of their feet. It can be easy to overlook that the feet are a key support system for the body. Unfortunately, foot problems in older adults are common and linked to frailty, weakness, exhaustion, balance difficulties, increased swaying while walking, gait alteration, change in walking speed and decreased walking. Older adults with foot problems are also more likely to fall, which means that good foot care is an important part of fall prevention. Read on to learn more about the common foot issues your loved ones may encounter.
Common Types of Foot Issues
After a lifetime of walking, running, and standing, it is not a surprise that many seniors develop foot disorders, some of which are painful. Some common disorders that affect older people’s feet include:
- Corns And Calluses
Corns and calluses are hardened and thick layers of skin around sensitive areas of the feet. They are usually caused by ill-fitting footwear but can be caused by improper walking motion.
- Toenail Disorders
Toenail problems come in a variety of forms and they can be very painful. Some of these toenail disorders in older people include ingrown toenails or fungal infections.
- Bunions, Hammertoe, or Claw toe
These painful deformities happen when a toe is bent out of shape or ends up growing excess bone. Some foot deformities are associated with specific footwear like high heels.
- Connective Tissue Disorders
Connective tissues are made up of bone, cartilage, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When the connective tissues of the feet become inflamed or irritated, it can result in painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis or foot tendonitis.
- Poor Circulation In Feet
Poor circulation happens when there is inadequate blood flow due to various factors, such as age, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes and blood clots. If not treated in a timely way, the effects could be very serious. It is therefore important to report any symptoms of poor circulation in the feet to the doctor.
How To Avoid Them
Ensure that there is someone there to check your loved ones’ feet regularly for any changes. You have to look for open cracks or sores, discolored or altered toenails, misshapen toes, and other changes to the skin such as thickening. Wash the feet regularly to avoid infections, and also trim toenails when needed. Do visit a podiatrist if you find anything strange about your loved ones’ feet.
Many older people wear shoes that are too small because they don’t realize their feet still grow in old age. Wear the right size footwear by measuring the feet properly. Also, put on footwear that comes with more support and try not to wear any high heels.
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