Essential foot care is crucial to maintaining your health and strengthening your mobility as you age.
As you grow older, your foot muscles, joints and tendons weaken ultimately developing into foot pain and mobility limitations during your senior years. Furthermore, this can contribute to an increased risk of falls in older adults each year. Without proper foot care, the condition of our feet can continue to deteriorate at alarming rates. Therefore, we discuss the importance of retaining healthy feet and getting optimal foot care as an older adult.
Importance of Maintaining Healthy Feet
Our feet are the primary catalyst responsible for mobility. By maintaining healthy feet, you can prevent the development of foot-related ailments, such as arthritis, hammertoe and bunions, and bolster your mobility to reduce the risk of falls as you grow older. Furthermore, this will alleviate the need to rely on mobility supports, such as wheelchairs, canes or strollers. Both older men and women are recommended to get foot checkups at least once a month. A careful foot examination can significantly improve your health and provide insight into the structural integrity of your feet. This will help you better maintain and strengthen your muscles, bones and joints by practicing foot-care techniques recommended by your doctor.
Significance of Getting Foot Checkups Once You Are Over the Age of 45
After the age of 45, our body’s structural integrity gradually weakens, and we lose the vitality and strength we once had in our youth. The foot muscles, bones, and ligaments weaken, leading to tendonitis and rheumatoid arthritis, which impairs movement and causes discomfort in older adults. Our foot tendons’ elasticity becomes less flexible and loose, causing the arches of the feet to sag and increase in width. A high arch forces you to exert an excessive amount of pressure onto your foot’s heel, leading to cavus foot, which causes aches and loss of balance. On the contrary, a fallen arch can lead to a flat foot, which inevitably staggers mobility, increases leg and back pain and causes swelling on the bottom of your feet. Furthermore, hormonal imbalances in older adults can contribute to unhealthy feet.
As we age, we experience a reduction in human growth hormone (HGH) responsible for muscle growth, bone density and cartilage tissue regeneration, thus leaving our bones and joints more vulnerable and increasing the risk of chronic arthritis. For older women, as they approach menopause, their overall estrogen levels plummet. This hormone plays a vital role in retaining bodily moisture. As estrogen levels drop, the skin around the heels begins to thicken. This results in the development of calluses that lead to foot pain. An appointment with a licensed podiatrist for foot checkups can help diagnose and alleviate the development of foot ailments to help sustain and improve the condition of your feet as an older adult.
Five DIY Foot-Care Practices
Aside from scheduling regular foot checkups, you can maintain and enhance your feet’s condition by adhering to some optimal DIY practices.
1. Keep Your Feet Moisturized
Dry skin can cause your feet to bleed and ache. To prevent the formation of calluses, moisturize your feet thoroughly. Take some time to properly massage lotion around the sides, front and bottom of your foot.
2. Wear Supporting Shoes
Open and comfortable shoes, such as sandals or breathable sneakers, allow optimal blood flow, thus alleviating swelling and pain. Furthermore, avoid tight shoes that compress your feet. This can lead to pain in the Achilles tendon and hammertoe.
3. Practice Optimal Foot Hygiene
Clean your feet daily with antibacterial soap to protect you from a fungal foot infection. Avoid any harsh reagents to prevent harming the skin. Always remember to dry your feet and trim your toenails to prevent infections and the growth of mold.
4. Stimulate Your Foot Blood Flow
Ensure to stretch your feet as often as possible when idle. You can also have a caregiver massage your heels, calves and ankles with nourishing lotion. This will help stimulate natural blood flow and prevent ailments such as plantar fasciitis.
5. Soak Your Feet in Hot Water
Hot water can help ease out poor blood circulation and relax blood vessels. The hot water will moisturize your skin and reduce swelling, thus preventing dry skin and aches.
Caring for your feet as an older adult is a vital way to remain physically active throughout your senior years. With this guide, you’ll understand the importance of regular foot checkups and learn some vital DIY techniques to improve your foot health.