Our feet will transport us close to 110,000 miles during our lifetime – that’s 216,262,500 steps! It’s truly no surprise that as we grow older, our feet can start to have a range of problems. Some of the more common foot conditions for older adults include:
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis affects various joints in the body, and the feet are not an exception. Women can be more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis as they age – 16% of senior women compared to 10% of senior men. Other risk factors consist of former injury to the foot or ankle, obesity, bunions, and hammertoe.
- Gout: A specific form of arthritis, gout is an autoimmune disease which can cause terrible discomfort because of built-up uric acid crystals surrounding a joint, usually presenting first within the big toe.
- Dry Skin: Left untreated, dry skin on the feet may bring about discomfort when walking, and enable bacteria to be introduced, generating the possibility for an infection in the feet. Using moisturizer on the feet regularly as a preventative measure before skin becomes cracked often helps.
- Flat Feet: Arising from stretched ligaments that may occur in aging, this condition causes discomfort and inflammation within the arch of the foot and inner ankle, and frequently in the lower back, hip and knee as well. Flat feet could cause a senior to have balance and stability problems and increase the possibility of sprains to the feet and ankles.
- Seborrheic Keratosis: Sometimes known as stucco keratosis, this condition will cause lesions to show up on the tops of the ankles, feet, and/or toes which can be incorrectly identified as warts. Although not painful, these lesions can lead to itching and irritation, especially when shoes are worn.
- Toenail Changes: As we age, toenails thicken and become more brittle, which causes them to be more difficult to clip. Nails can likewise change in color and develop ridges and cracks.
- Circulation: Edema (built-up fluids), medication side effects, diabetes, along with other circumstances can cause circulation problems for older adults. Swelling, numbness and tingling in the feet and legs are common indications of circulatory issues.
- Shortened Achilles Tendon: The Achilles (and other tendons) can lose water in the aging process, which may shorten them and make them far less flexible, more susceptible to tears or ruptures and bring about a more flatfooted gait.
Any changes in the feet should be brought to the attention of the older adult’s primary care physician. Setting up routine appointments for your senior loved one with a podiatrist, who’s able to provide nail care and maintain a close watch for any potential concerns, is also a good idea.
Enhanced Home Care can assist in many ways to ensure older adults’ feet are as healthy as possible, such as:
- Transport to medical appointments
- Ensuring appropriate nutrition and hydration for seniors
- Encouraging safe, doctor-authorized physical activity
- Evaluating the house for senior fall risks
- And far more
Enhanced Home Care is the preferred choice for elder care in Kansas City and the surrounding area. Our team of professionals is ready to help you take the first step in improving the health of your senior loved one! Call us at 913-327-0000 for more information.