People’s feet change as they get older. For example, the fat on the sole of the foot wears down as people age. The arch in the foot will flatten as well as the loosening of ligaments and tendons causing flattening and widening of the foot. The skin also becomes dry and could, therefore, cause more irritation.
There are two main things that make it harder to look after your feet as you age. One is being less mobile (bending down is therefore difficult) and the second is poor eyesight.
Your feet are the parts of your body that allow you to move around, get out of the house and be independent. If something happens to your feet then you could loose the ability to live independently. That is why it is so important to take care of your feet as you get older.
Swollen Feet (Peripheral Oedema) is a build up of fluid in the feet, which causes them to swell. Swollen feet is usually due to another health condition (e.g. Heart failure, kidney failure). Swollen feet will usually disappear when the cause of the oedema is treated, but lifestyle changes such as losing weight, regular exercise, raising your legs 3-4 times a day and avoiding standing for a long time can also help prevent swollen feet. Diuretics may also be prescribed to reduce fluid build-up.
If you have diabetes you are more like to have foot conditions or for your foot to be amputated because increased blood sugar causes the nerves in the feet to be affected (this is called peripheral neuropathy), which can cause the feet to go numb. The amount of blood that goes to the feet also decreases because of peripheral vascular disease. Check your feet daily for any signs that there might be a problem.
Tips and Foot Safety
- If you suffer from diabetes or arthritis be sure to attend all appointments, as there is a higher risk of foot problems.
- Get checked frequently
- Wear the right footwear. Wearing the right footwear can be the difference between healthy feet and unhealthy feet because footwear should be well fitted and comfortable in order to protect the feet and the joints in the legs.
- Make sure your toenails are taken care of because long toenails can cause problems such as inflammation, soreness and they can also become ingrown when cut improperly.
- If you have diabetes make sure that you check your feet at least once a day to make sure there is nothing wrong if there is something different contact your doctor.
Contact your GP
If you think that you cannot take care of your feet well enough talk to your GP or ask NHS services near you. They can care for your feet and make sure that you are comfortable.
If you think that you have a specific foot condition that you are worried about or is causing you pain and discomfort, talk to your GP, as they will most likely be able to help, either by referring you to a specialist or fixing it themselves. Most foot problems can be treated, so the pain and discomfort will be reduced.
Also if something happens to your feet and they go numb or are painful then there is a greater chance of falling in your home and causing a more serious injury so make sure you check that your feet are ok and if you have any doubt contact your GP.
Did You Know?
- “Nearly one in three older people can’t cut their own toenails.”
- “In one study 87% of older people reported at least one foot problem.”
- “During the average lifespan, a person walks more than 100,000 miles – that is more than 4 times around the world!”