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Foot health tips for seniors

Keep your feet clean and dry at all times

Hygiene is the most important part of proper foot health. Not only do you want to pay special attention to them while you are bathing, but you should also be sure to take care of them after a walk or workout. When washing your feet, lather and scrub between every toe, not just on the surfaces. Afterward, you should dry them in the same fashion.

Warm, wet places are the perfect breeding ground for annoying and painful types of foot fungi. Keeping all areas of your feet dry will ensure that these organisms don’t have the opportunity to grow.

Pay attention to any changes in your feet

While washing your feet, pay special attention to their condition. Look at the soles of your feet to check for any kind of scaling or new calluses. Also look between the toes to check for open sores, peeling, or discoloration. These symptoms could be indicators of athlete’s foot or other infections.

It is important to note that if you suffer from diabetes, you should inspect your feet on a daily basis.

Keep your feet moisturized

One of the most common problems with seniors’ feet is dryness. You may notice that the skin on your feet is uncommonly itchy or that you frequently experience a burning sensation. Both of these very common symptoms come from dry skin.

After you have properly washed and dried your feet, use a moisturizer that contains either petroleum jelly or lanolin. These types of moisturizers will ensure that the skin on your feet remains healthy.

Cut your toenails properly

When going through your grooming routine, take special care when cutting your toenails. Be sure to cut straight across. While curving or rounding the corners may seem like the more attractive option (especially for women), it is very unhealthy. Rounding the corners of your toenails can lead to painful ingrown nails, which can become infected or nurture fungal growth.

Pay attention to “ugly” toenails

If you have thick toenails that are discolored or crumbling, don’t simply blame it on old age or having “ugly” feet. These symptoms could be signs of toenail fungus. If you experience similar symptoms, consult with your podiatrist or general practitioner right away to explore treatment options.

An added note: the worst thing you can do with fungus-infected toenails is cover those unsightly nails with polish, as this could exacerbate the problem.

Choose your footwear carefully

Make wise choices regarding what you put on your feet. Choose the proper socks as well as the right shoes. When purchasing socks, pick those made with a breathable fabric that will allow the air to circulate around your feet – and will absorb any sweat, which is particularly important since each foot has approximately 250,000 sweat glands.

When purchasing shoes, have your feet measured, regardless of whether you got them measured last time. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause long-term issues. As far as the shoes themselves, choose footwear that will allow your feet to breathe. If you purchase leather shoes, make sure the material is breathable. If you have particularly sweaty feet, look for shoes that are made of a mesh or mesh-type material.

No sharing this time!

This tip is short and sweet: never share footwear with anyone, as fungus can be passed along this way.

Your feet are one of the most important parts of your body — and the most neglected. Protect them at all times, especially when at the gym or pool. Follow the tips above, and you should be golden! If you have any questions about your foot health, don’t hesitate to contact the Kansas City Foot Specialists for expert advice and a customized treatment plan for any problems.

stephen baldwin kc foot specialists guest blog

Stephan Baldwin is the Director of Business Development for Assisted Living Center, an online resource for aging care communities.