Of all the people who develop lots of health concerns, the elderlies are the ones that are most compromised. Their bodies are no longer as strong and healthy as before and their immune system continues to diminish as years go by. While elderly men and women easily get sick and suffer a number of illnesses, they may also develop unpleasant conditions in their feet. Foot problems in elderly are common because of their risk to infection. As elderlies age, their feet tend to spread and lose the pads that protect the bottom of their feet and help them walk and balance their body. It even gets worse when they carry extra weight. To be able to get rid of these foot problems, elderly people need to be taken care of. They have to religiously get involved with regular check-ups and foot care. Of course, this will be done through the help of their family members. Their loved ones are the people who can help assist them and manage their foot problems. They are also the persons who are capable of maintaining their foot health through daily care. Below are some of the common foot problems and conditions elderly people may have:
A bunion is a bony bump that appears on the joint at the base of the big toe. It develops when the big toe pushes against the next toe. When this happens, the joint of the big toe is forced to grow bigger, resulting in redness and in an odd shape. How to manage this foot problem? An elderly person needs to get rid of tight and narrow foot wears. Wearing a tight-fitting pair of shoes will worsen the bunions. There are instances when bunions are caused by inheritance or from an effect of medical condition like arthritis and this should be assessed by the physician.
A hammertoe is another foot problem in an elderly person. It is a deformity that results in a curling and bending toe. Normally, a toe should point forward but when there is a hammertoe, the abnormality of its form is very apparent. This kind of foot problem may happen to any toe of the feet. In most cases, this appears on the second and third toe. To aid this problem, you have to instruct your grandparent to wear sensible and comfortable shoes. Non-medicated padding along with good shoes with a wider and deeper toe box will also help accommodate the shape of the feet. Using a pumice stone when washing the feet also helps, as well as doing exercises.
3. Calluses and corns
Calluses and corns are very common among the elderlies. These are dead skins that appear thick and yellowish. Although calluses and corns gradually disappear when the friction stops, these problems can be managed by applying special rehydration creams, protective corn plasters, customized soft padding, and foam insoles.
4. Ingrown toenails
When you have ingrown toenails, the corner of side of your toenails grow into the soft flesh. This results to pain and sometimes the pain is too much. There is also swelling, redness, and infection to follow. Most commonly, ingrown happen on the big toe. To aid this problem, most people that suffer this will have to ask for a pedicurist‚Äôs help in order to take it away. But if you can manage to help your elderly loved one remove the ingrown nail, you can do it on your own and be his or her own pedicurist. All you need to do is have the affected toe soaked in a warm water for about 15 minutes. You should do this at least two to three times a week each day. A small piece of wet cotton may need to be wedged under the corner of the ingrown nail. Each day, you also need to soak the toe and change the piece of cotton and wait for the nail to grow out. Once the nail grows back, trim it to make it back to normal. One thing that you also need to remember is to avoid using manicure scissors or any sharp materials like needles. This is to prevent infection. When you see the ingrown nails healing a few days after, instruct your elderly loved one to wear comfortable shoes that are not too tight. Tight-fitting shoes may press on the toes and they will encourage ingrown toenails.
5. Foot ulcers that result from diabetic foot
Infection is a common risk when an elderly has diabetes. It is important on your part to watch out for the elderly‚Äôs risk factors. When foot ulcers that result from infection happen, it may take a while for them to be healed. In this case, you need to consult his or her physician and find out appropriate treatments. You also need to carefully clean the wounds and avoid getting more infection.
Most commonly, these happen when an elderly has an arthritis and gout. Apart from analgesics and other medications that physicians normally prescribe, this condition will be alleviated by daily care and exercises. Daily care includes keeping the feet clean and moisturized and maintaining the toes to appear well-trimmed. A little bit of stretching will also help in order to encourage the feet‚Äôs flexibility.
7. Heel pain
This happens when an elderly experiences pain at the back of the arch from heel spurs. Normally this instance happens because there is swelling involved. To manage this foot problem, you need to reduce its swelling through ice application. Use an ice pack for this. The physician may also prescribe an over-the-counter pain reliever that may alleviate the pain. Exercising, in addition, will also help.
Foot problems in elderly are common concerns but they can be managed when you know what to do. Elderlies are physically fragile and this is the stage of their lives where they need the care of their loved ones. With the interventions mentioned above, these common foot problems will never become a burden for them.