Frequently forgotten or simply neglected, feet are vital for maintaining overall health, well-being and independence. In seniors, foot care is especially important. Initial symptoms of arthritis and diabetes, as well as nerve and circulatory disorders, are often detected in the feet.
Foot care for diabetics
Seniors with diabetes or circulation problems can have very little feeling in the feet. As a result, minor wounds can go unnoticed and cause infections and ulcers. Occasionally these can develop into severe conditions that are even more difficult to treat. Diabetes sufferers should have their feet routinely checked to prevent any escalation of these issues.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Even the smallest abrasion of the foot can lead to serious medical complications if it isn’t treated quickly enough. A regular foot care regime, carried out by yourself, your care assistant or by a podiatrist, will help keep other health issues at bay. It’s as simple as these five steps:
- Wash your feet daily. Check there are no cuts, cracks, blisters, calluses, corns, ingrown toenails or any yellowing or thickening of nails (signs of a fungal nail infection). Don’t forget to check between your toes. Clean any injuries with a mild soap and warm water. Cover any wounds with a sterile, dry dressing.
- Dry your feet carefully, especially between the toes.
- Trim your toenails straight across and file any sharp edges. Don’t cut the nails too short.
- Apply a good moisturizing lotion to heels and soles. Avoid the area between the toes, as excessive moisture can promote infection.
- Always choose supportive, well-fitting shoes with low heels. They should not rub or pinch.
Important: In the case of any numbness, tingling, pain or any change in the shape of the feet, you should consult a specialist. Many podiatrists offer home appointments on request. At The Manor Village, we offer our Residents an on-site podiatry service that operates from our own dedicated treatment room.
Putting the spring back in the steps of seniors
Acknowledging the early signs of a bunion or heel pain cannot be understated. Left untreated, minor foot pain can extend to problems with the ankles, lower limbs and even the back. An early diagnosis will often delay or avoid the need for surgery. It will also avoid the risk of further immobility.
A podiatrist can:
- Conduct a biomechanical examination of the feet and legs to assess foot structure, alignment and range of motion
- Observe a patient’s movement (gait) to identify any imbalances or other issues
- Carry out X-rays and other diagnostic tests for a more comprehensive diagnosis
They may treat any problems they notice with orthopaedic appliances such as:
- Custom-made orthotics. These correct the foot position, function and balance. Orthotics reduce muscle strain and tiredness, and can can be particularly successful in the treatment of painful bunions
- Orthopaedic footwear
- Night braces (splints)
- Straussberg socks worn at night for pressure relief
Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
Orthotics, night braces and Straussberg socks can also help correct more acute problems such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain). This is an inflammation of the tendon that runs from the heel to the middle of the foot. It is often found in seniors who are overweight or those with ill-fitting footwear. At The Manor Village, our podiatrists can offer screenings to detect and treat plantar fasciitis and other similarly painful conditions.
Healthy feet, healthy life
At The Manor Village, we are wholly committed to senior foot care. We employ an expert team of podiatrists and specialists in senior orthotics. Our aim is to keep feet healthy and our Residents mobile for many years to come. Healthy feet are happy feet, and happy feet mean a healthier life!