Geriatric Foot Care

Proper Foot Care for Senior Feet Prevents Further Injury and Protects Health

The older we get, the more important it is to take good care of our feet. For many reasons, foot health tends to decline in seniors. Reasons why senior citizens experience common foot problems include:

  • Years of walking, working and healing from injuries
  • Low quality, too small or uncomfortable footwear
  • Poor circulation
  • Increased risk of diabetes, gout, heart disease and other diseases causing foot problems
  • Difficulty properly trimming toenails due to impaired vision or mobility

Left untreated, common elderly foot symptoms can quickly worsen and lead to more dangerous issues like falls and infections

Common Symptoms and Foot Disorders among Elderly

It’s important to address any foot issue early, as foot pain can often be an early warning sign of a more serious health condition such as arthritis, circulatory disease, gout or diabetes.

Seniors or caretakers should seek professional advice for:

  • Brittle or discolored toenails
  • Burning or tingling in feet or toes
  • Discoloration or cold/numb feet
  • Chronic or acute pain in feet and ankles
  • Blisters or cracked skin
  • Sores or wounds

Even when elderly foot pain isn’t a sign of a more serious problem, it can still cause pain in the knees, hips or back and lead to decreased activity. Aging skin becomes thinner and less elastic, which makes blisters and corns more common.

Common geriatric foot problems include:

  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Corns & calluses
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Fungal infections (Athlete’s foot)

Many of these symptoms can be lessened with proper foot care. Decreased circulation may mean an elderly patient doesn’t always feel uncomfortable symptoms in their feet, so it’s important to establish a routine of healthy foot maintenance.

Tips for maintaining elderly foot health:

  • Inspect feet and nails regularly
  • Use mild soap to wash feet, and always dry thoroughly
  • Use lotion as needed to prevent dry, itchy or cracked skin
  • Wear properly fitting shoes and clean cotton socks
  • Elevate feet using a footstool or cushion when seated
  • Don’t sit with legs crossed
  • Trim toenails regularly

Elderly individuals unable to care for their own feet are encouraged to contact a podiatrist for periodic foot care appointments.


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