Our feet spend a lifetime supporting us and as people age the feet can show signs of the burden that has been put on them. Without them our mobility is seriously impaired so it’s vital to look after them well. This is our guide to the best footcare tips and advice for the elderly. There are many problems that can happen to ageing feet:
- Painful corns
- Ingrown toenails
- Cracked skin
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hard skin
Chiropodist or podiatrist?
When a foot problem develops the first person to make an appointment with is the GP, who can make a referral to an NHS podiatrist (free of charge). All podiatrists should be members of the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) whose register can be seen online at: http://www.hcpc-uk.org/
To find a private podiatrist or for more information about feet you can also look at the website of The College of Podiatry, https://www.scpod.org.
Exercise the feet
Similarly to the whole body it’s important to exercise feet and be active. Activity stimulates the blood circulation keeping the feet warm and healthy, and it strengthens muscles and arches. Regular exercise enables feet to remain healthier and able to support us, keeping us mobile.
Caring for the feet
Foot massage: it’s a relaxing experience to have feet massaged and it improves circulation and keeps the skin soft. For those living on a budget, perhaps you or someone else in the family could massage their feet regularly. Of course if they can reach their feet they can help themselves with a regular daily massage of the feet with a peppermint foot lotion or gentle oil (like almond oil).
A good soak: the old fashioned ideas are often the best. A bowl of warm water with Epsom salts dissolved in it does wonders for feet, helping to keep the circulation going and remove toxins from the body. It helps to keep skin supple and the blood flowing.
Keep them warm: cold feet feel unpleasant and are not good for the general circulation. A hot water bottle in bed or a wheat bag that has been warmed up can keep feet cosy and warm, and warm socks are one of the easiest ways of retaining heat. Feet should never be put onto direct heat because it can result in chilblains – so a hot water bottle should be covered.
Right shoes: ill-fitting shoes can cause bunions and pain. There are plenty of brands of shoes these days that mould to your foot and make them comfortable. Or go for shoes specifically for older people which may be cushioned and available in wider fittings.
Nail cutting: it’s so important to keep nails cut and to ensure that they are straight without sharp edges that cut into the next toe. For the over 80s Age UK provides a nail cutting service. Go to: www.ageuk.org.uk