Our feet will transport us close to 110,000 miles throughout our lifetime – that is 216,262,500 steps! It is certainly not surprising that as we age, our feet may start to see a range of problems. A few of the more widespread foot ailments for seniors include:
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis affects a variety of joints in the body, and the feet are not an exception. Women are more prone to be diagnosed with arthritis as they age – 16% of senior women as opposed to 10% of senior men. Other risk factors consist of previous injury to the foot or ankle, obesity, bunions, and hammertoe.
- Gout: A specific type of arthritis, gout is an autoimmune disease that may cause severe pain resulting from the buildup of uric acid crystals that surround a joint, usually presenting first within the big toe.
- Dry Skin: Left untreated, dry skin on the feet can cause soreness when walking, and allow bacteria to be introduced, creating the possibility for an infection in the feet. Using moisturizer on the feet each day as a preventive measure before skin becomes cracked can help.
- Flat Feet: Resulting from stretched ligaments which may take place in the aging process, this disorder generates discomfort and inflammation within the arch of the foot and inner ankle, and sometimes in the lower back, hip and knee too. Flat feet may cause a senior to have balance and stability problems and increase the possibility of sprains to the feet and ankles.
- Seborrheic Keratosis: Occasionally described as stucco keratosis, this condition will cause lesions to appear on the tops of the ankles, feet, and/or toes which can be mistaken for warts. While not painful, these lesions can lead to itching and irritation, particularly when shoes are worn.
- Toenail Changes: As we get older, toenails thicken and become more brittle, which makes them more challenging to clip. Nails also can change in color and develop ridges and cracks.
- Circulation: Edema (built-up fluids), medication side effects, diabetes and other conditions can cause circulation problems for seniors. Swelling, numbness and tingling in the feet and legs are common symptoms of circulatory concerns.
- Shortened Achilles Tendon: The Achilles (and other tendons) can lose water in the aging process, which can shorten them and make them significantly less flexible, more vulnerable to tears or ruptures and contribute to a flatfooted gait.
Any changes in your senior loved ones’ feet should be brought to the attention of his/her physician, and it’s also a smart idea to schedule routine appointments for your loved one with a podiatrist, who is able to provide nail care and keep a close watch for any possible concerns.
Morning Glory Home Care can assist in a variety of ways to make certain older adults’ feet are as healthy as possible, such as:
- Transport to doctor appointments
- Ensuring adequate nutrition and hydration for seniors
- Encouraging safe, physician-authorized exercise
- Evaluating your home for senior fall risks
- And more
Take the first step to improving health for your senior loved one! Morning Glory Home Care provides compassionate, professional care for older adults in the comfort of home. Call us at 618-667-8400 for more information about personalized home care in Edwardsville and the surrounding area.