Common foot problems include: diabetic ulcers, arthritis, gout, curled toes, flat feet, corn and calluses, ingrown toenails and fungal infections. Left untreated, common foot symptoms can quickly worsen and lead to more dangerous issues like falls and infections.
Arthritis is a common cause of pain in the joints of the ankle and big toe. Arthritis in the big toe can make bunion and hammertoe symptoms worse.
Diabetics must be even more vigilant about foot care. Diabetes often damages blood vessels in the feet. It also damage nerves in the feet, making it harder to detect injuries. As a result, wounds heal more slowly and can develop into a serious infection.
Painful foot disorders can reduce a senior’s mobility. It is important to do what you can to maintain foot and ankle mobility and strength. It helps improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.
It’s very common for older adults to experience swelling in the feet, ankles and lower legs. Possible causes include problems with circulations and leg veins; hormonal changes; heart disease; medications and reduced activity.
Many seniors wear shoes that are too small. As we age, the tendons and ligaments in the foot become less elastic, causing feet to flatten out and become both wider and longer. The fat pads on the bottom of the feet get thinner. Less cushioning can lead to soreness, corns and calluses.
Toenail growth tends to slow as we age. Slower growth leads to thicker, more brittle nails. Seniors can have problems with thicker nails and toenail fungus. Seniors often struggle with performing proper toenail care. If you have trouble performing foot care, schedule a visit with a podiatrist or utilize a local foot care clinic.
To maintain foot health inspect feet and nails regularly; use mild soap to wash feet and always dry thoroughly; lotion to prevent dry, itchy or cracked skin; wear properly fitting shoes and clean socks; elevate feet when seated; don’t sit with crossed legs, and trim toenails regularly.
Seek professional advice for brittle or discolored nails; burning or tingling in feet or toes; discoloration or cold/numb fee; chronic or acute pain in feet/ankles; sores or wounds.