Our feet will transport us roughly 110,000 miles during our lives – that’s 216,262,500 steps! It is truly no wonder that as we age, our feet can start to see a number of issues. Some of the more common foot ailments for older adults include:
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis impacts various joints through the entire body, and the feet aren’t an exception. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis in later years – 16% of senior women in comparison to 10% of senior men. Additional risk factors include things like previous injury to the foot or ankle, obesity, bunions, and hammertoe.
- Gout: A specific type of arthritis, gout is an autoimmune disease that can cause excruciating discomfort as a consequence of accumulated uric acid crystals surrounding a joint, usually presenting initially within the big toe.
- Dry Skin: Left untreated, dry skin on the feet can cause soreness when walking, and enable bacteria to be introduced, creating the possibility for an infection in the feet. Use moisturizer on the feet on a daily basis as a protective measure before skin becomes cracked.
- Flat Feet: Resulting from stretched ligaments that can occur in aging, this problem leads to discomfort and inflammation within the arch of the foot and inner ankle, and sometimes within the lower back, hip and knee as well. Flat feet may cause a senior to have balance and stability problems and increase the chance of sprains to the feet and ankles.
- Seborrheic Keratosis: Sometimes described as stucco keratosis, this condition will cause lesions to show up on the tops of the ankles, feet, and/or toes which can be incorrectly identified as warts. Although not painful, these lesions can cause 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 circumstances can bring about circulation problems for older adults. 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 far less flexible, more vulnerable to tears or ruptures and contribute to a flatfooted gait.
Any changes in your senior loved one’s feet should be brought to the attention of his/her physician, and it’s always a smart idea to set up routine appointments for your loved one with a podiatrist, who can provide nail care and keep a close watch for any possible problems.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care can assist in a variety of ways so that older adults’ feet are as healthy as possible, such as:
- Transport to doctor appointments
- Ensuring sufficient nutrition and hydration
- Encouraging safe, physician-approved physical activity
- Evaluating the house for fall dangers
- And many more
Take the first step to improving health for your senior loved one! Contact us at 913-440-4209 for more information. Hearts at Home In-Home Care is the leader in senior care in Kansas City and the surrounding areas and our compassionate and knowledgeable staff are eager to help your loved one age in the comfort and familiarity of home.