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Geriatric Foot Care

Many seniors suffer with recurring foot pain. Many times the early signs of a systemic conditions appear in the feet. These systemic conditions include circulatory problems, diabetes and arthritis. Signs you can look for include brittle nails, dry skin, discoloration, loss of leg hair and possible cramping, numbness and/or tingling in their feet.

Foot Disorders Can Reduce a Senior’s Mobility Even More

The American Podiatric Medical Association states that by the time an American reaches the age of 50, on average, he or she has already walked a total of 75,000 miles. This fact sheds some light on the reason seniors frequently suffer with foot disorders that lead to pain. According to, foot disorders are usually painful and reduce a senior’s mobility. Elderly patients who have foot disorders are more likely to need additional assistance from caregivers.

Examine the Bottom of the Your Feet states that of the 16 million Americans who have diabetes, 25 percent will develop foot problems; therefore you should keep a close eye on the bottom of your feet. Cuts, splinters, cracks, calluses, blisters and pressure sores should show signs of healing within 24 hours. If they do not, contact your physician.

Check Your Socks

Socks should be seamless and not too tight. A binding top can inhibit blood flow to the feet. Try to avoid wearing 100 percent cotton socks as this material does not wick moisture away. An acrylic blend sock will.

Toenail Care

Avoiding an ingrown toenail is important for any senior. An individual with a circulation issue, an ingrown toenail could lead to amputation. For this reason, pay close attention to your toenails. After cutting your toenails, you will need to file the toenails straight across and then round out the edges.

Examine Your Shoes

According to Health in Aging, three out of four people who are older than 65 wear shoes that are too small. Since ill-fitting shoes are a major cause of foot pain, make sure that the shoes you are wearing fit properly (you can have your feet measured at your Podiatrist’s office to help avoid wearing the wrong size shoe).

Wearing Socks and Shoes at All Times

Elderly patients who have poor circulation in their feet are more likely to unknowingly sustain an injury, which can lead to an infection and if not properly cared for, amputation. Wearing moisture wicking socks and closed toe shoes can protect a patient’s foot from injury.  For this reason, try to wear moisture wicking socks, and slippers or shoes that have a closed toe whenever you are awake.

Apply Moisturizing Lotion

Obviously, lotion can be used to moisturize the skin of the feet. Use moisturizer on the top and bottom of your feet. Keep in mind that moisturizer should not be used between the toes.

Pedicures and Preventative Foot Care

While a home health care provider can easily provide you with a standard pedicure, if you have diabetes, poor circulation and/or numbness, please see your podiatrist for proper preventative foot care.

Foot Spas/Baths

Foot spas/baths can help tense muscles in the feet relax. A foot bath also soothes dry skin and painful bunions. Regular foot baths can prevent some foot disorders because many of them occur due to muscle tension.

Stretch Your Feet

Try to stretch your feet on a daily basis. Since a foot spa treatment loosens tense muscles, a great time to stretch your feet is directly following a foot spa/bath treatment. Stretching also reduces muscle tension and addresses knot formations before these knots actually become painful. After speaking with your physician and receiving approval, try to perform stretches like the plantar fascia stretch.

Address Foot Odor

It is possible to reduce the build-up of odor-causing bacteria. Wash your feet at least twice daily. Additionally, antibacterial foot sprays may be helpful.

Know How to Keep Blood Flowing to Their Feet

Crossing your legs for an extended length of time inhibits blood flow to your feet. Set alarms throughout the day to remind yourself to wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down, in and out for 5 minutes, two or three times a day. Whenever possible, elevate your feet.

Dangers of Using Artificial Heat

If you have poor circulation please be aware that heating pads and hot water bottles can cause burns on your feet. If your feet are cold wear seamless socks to bed.