The Ageing Foot
The Ageing Foot
As we get older, our ability to move, bend and stretch like we did in our younger years gradually diminishes. We may decrease doing the things we once did due to limited mobility and its effect ie pain, stiffness, arthritis, eye sight.
Feet tend to be the first thing that get neglected, mainly due to them being hidden away in footwear for many months of the year. Our ability to reach down and cut our toenails will be limited, so they often get forgotten and neglected, and only when someone else notices them (family member, carer etc) do we finally get something done about. Our ability to check the feet daily for any abnormalities is impaired.
Circulation decreases with the ability to move and exercise less and we tend to put on weight thus increasing the load on out bones, especially the feet.
Age related neuropathy (loss of sensation) occurs in our fingers and toes, we may drop things (especially on feet) or fail to notice the first signs of something wrong with our feet.
Creaming feet daily prevents heels from cracking. As we get older, and due to certain medications (such as warfarin) the skins becomes thinner, drier and can break easily leaving a portal for bacteria and infection, which in turn can lead to ulceration and all sorts of other medical implications.
Visit your podiatrist regularly for routine toenail cutting. They will also be able to check for any abnormalities like fungal infections of the skin and nails, advice you on best to look after your feet and footwear advice.
Top tips for feet
General foot hygiene may be impaired due to a lack of being able to bend down, so try these suggestions first.
- If you struggle to reach to wash and cream your feet, use an empty washing up bowl!
- Start by soaking feet in a bowl of water and add a few drops of tea tree oil or a mild antiseptic cleanser. Wiggle those toes to get the water inbetween them and use a long handled sponge on a stick to gently scrub them, paying extra attention to the heels where they can crack.
- Ensure they are thoroughly dried especially inbetween the toes. A hairdryer on the lowest heat and speed setting can help you dry inbetween the toes if you can’t reach.
- Also try this if you are still struggling to reach inbetween your toes to dry or clean them. Try baby wipes from a roll, you can tear off a long piece and pull it between each toe like flossing your teeth. Do the same with a thin towel for drying them. Dampening a towel or cotton buds with surgical spirit is good for drying inbetween the toes and for treating any fungal infections.
- Get someone to check your feet for you, or you use a mirror to check the soles of the feet yourself to look for any abnormalities
If feet are especially dry
- Put a good dollop of foot cream into the bowl, sit down and place your feet in the bowl, try to use one foot to rub cream onto the other foot. When finished, you can put cling film over the bowl and re-use the following day.