Chances are your elderly loved one deals with all kinds of aches and pains due to health issues and chronic illnesses.
However, foot pain doesn’t have to be one of those things that slows them down or causes them to sit out of exercise, activities and social events. As a family caregiver, you must spend the time to check your aging loved one’s feet for common foot disorders and implement a plan for assertive foot care. When feet are healthy, elderly adults won’t need as much assistance from family caregivers and elderly care providers.
Common Foot Disorders in Seniors
Some of the most common foot issues have to do with foot health and hygiene. Dry skin, untrimmed or ingrown nails, sores, blisters, and foot fungus can lead to foot problems, but they are easily taken care of at home. Family caregivers and elderly care providers should wash the feet with warm water and soap, keep nails trimmed to the edge of the toe, and treat blisters with appropriate antiseptics and bandages. Topical ointments, plus keeping the feet clean and dry, can take care of any fungus, athlete’s foot or bacterial growth.
More serious foot disorders that require treatment from a doctor include open sores, discoloration, hammertoes, corns, bunions, calluses, warts, and bone spurs. Foot complications from diseases such as arthritis and diabetes must have a doctor’s attention, so they can work on treatment options for better overall health. Sometimes, foot pain doesn’t have any real external cause, and the senior is suffering from wear and tear, with joints, tendons and cartilage issues that lead to chronic pain.
How to Check Seniors for Foot Disorders
The best way to check aging adults weekly for foot disorders is to set aside time each week for an inspection. Many family caregivers or elderly care providers find it convenient to do so just after the aging adult has a bath or shower. The feet are clean at that time and need to be dried thoroughly. Many family caregivers and elderly care providers apply moisturizer to the senior’s feet, and that’s an excellent time to do an inspection. Others set up more of a “spa” experience and pay attention to the feet when the aging adult is resting comfortably in a chair.
Family caregivers and elderly care providers should check the bottom of the aging adult’s feet for cracks, pressure sores, cuts, and blisters. They should then look in between the toes, and around the nail beds for any signs of trouble. The top of the foot, up to the ankle, should also be checked out and any abnormalities noted. Finally, elderly care providers and family caregivers should inspect the aging adult’s shoes to ensure they are snug but not too tight. Also, the elderly adult’s socks should always be clean, dry, seamless to prevent rubbing and made of acrylic to wick away moisture.
When it comes to foot care, there are plenty of preventative measures that family caregivers can take to ensure their elderly relative has healthy feet for years to come. However, early detection of foot problems is the best chance the senior has of getting proper treatment and minimizing any long-term issues.