4 Common Foot Concerns for Older AdultsOctober 26, 2023
Did you know that more than 1 in 4 adults 65 years or older fall each year? And as you get older, the risk of falling and how much a fall can impact your health rises. To help prevent falls, you want to make sure you have a strong foundation. Where to start? By taking care of your feet.
Common foot issues among older adults
Throughout our lives, most of us spend a lot of time on our feet. It’s no wonder that, by the time we’re 60, 70, or older, our feet are tired. But when is a foot ache something to consult a podiatrist, or foot doctor, about? Here are some of the most common concerns to look out for when caring for your feet.
A bunion occurs when the bones in the front part of your foot are out of place, causing your big toe to pull inwards toward the other toes. This causes the joint at the base of your big toe to jut out, creating the potential for friction. Depending on the cause, bunions can be resolved by wearing properly fitting shoes. However, if the cause is the natural shape of your foot or a medical condition such as arthritis, a foot specialist may be the best person to consult on how to treat your unique symptoms and any underlying causes.
Corns and calluses
Though they have similar causes, corns and calluses are not the same. They can both be caused by friction and pressure, especially from repeated actions, like perfecting your golf swing or wearing tight shoes. While calluses can form just about anywhere, corns are only found on the feet and typically cause more pain. Hard corns are often found on the tops of toes or the outside of the small toe, while soft corns are found in between toes. As with bunions, wearing properly fitting shoes can often make your symptoms better. Whether it’s a corn or a callus, if you notice that it’s painful or swollen, you should consult your health care provider.
An ingrown nail can be quite painful. It’s also a very common condition. The cause? Improperly trimming your toenail. The good news is that an ingrown nail can typically be treated at home. First, make sure you’re trimming your toenails straight across. Tapering on the corners can cause the corner to grow into the skin surrounding the nail. If flexibility is an issue in proper nail care, consider getting regular pedicures. Not only can they keep your nails properly trimmed, but they can also take care of calluses and dry skin. Once you have your nails trimmed correctly, the next step to treating an ingrown toenail is gently lifting the edge of your nail and putting a small piece of cotton between the nail and your skin. Do this until the nail has grown out enough that the ingrown portion is no longer an issue. If you notice that the ingrown nail has become infected, you’ll want to consult with a podiatrist.
Are your feet always cold? Do you have dry, cracked skin? Has that scratch on your ankle refused to heal? These can all be signs of poor circulation in your feet. Poor circulation can have many causes, from diabetes to high blood pressure, but there are some things you can do at home to help improve circulation. Moving more and relaxation techniques like yoga are options that can help with your overall health as well as circulation. Massage and compression socks both provide pressure to the legs and feet, keeping the blood flowing. Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can all increase the risk of poor circulation, so reducing their consumption is a good idea.
Building a good healthcare team
At FellowshipLIFE, we want to help our residents get the most out of life, and good health is a key part. That’s why we take an innovative, personalized approach to your health and wellness services. Finding the right foot and ankle specialist to round out your healthcare team can contribute to an active, fulfilling retirement. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you live your best years yet to come.