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Common Foot Problems in the Elderly

Common foot problems
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With a lowered immune system and other health concerns, the elderly experience a lot of changes to their physical health. Some of the most common issues are related to feet. Many illnesses have a direct impact on the feet, for example, someone with Diabetes can experience sensitivity and swelling making it uncomfortable to wear conventional shoes.

Here are some of the most common foot problems in the elderly:

Cracked heels:

You may have heard your loved ones complain about cracked heels. With age, skin tends to make less oil and elastin which leaves it drier and less supple. If your senior parents or grandparents have cracked feet and they have hardened due to lack of proper care, it may get difficult for them to walk or stand. For people who are overweight, cracked heels can get more painful because of excess weight. Treat cracked heels with a proper moisturizer meant for feet. If the cracked heels are in a bad condition, ask the doctor for a prescription ointment. Choose soft adaptive shoes or cozy indoor slippers so your loved ones can feel comfortable.

Ingrown toenails:

Ingrown toenails are when the edges of the nail grow into the skin and eventually break skin. This can be very painful for seniors and it can also cause the toe to be prone to infection if it is left untreated. It is important to relieve the pain and treat symptoms as early as possible. Keeping the nail bed moisturized can also help keep the skin soft. Any sort of pressure or fabric on it will simply cause pain when you try to treat an ingrown toenail. An open toe shoe will allow the toes to heal better without any material to restrict airflow.

Plantar Fasciitis:

Another common ailment that effects the feet, the plantar fascia is a long ligament that runs along the sole of your foot and supports your arch. If your senior loved one has a high arch or if they are overweight, they be more prone to plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis tends to cause a stabbing pain that usually occurs early in the morning when you take the first steps after getting up. As you get up and move, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting.

Lymphedema:

Lymphedema is swelling in arm or leg. It is a condition where you will notice “localized fluid retention and tissue swelling”. If the lymphatic system is not working properly, it can cause fluid to transfer back into the bloodstream. Lymphedema is a type of edema that focuses more on the chronic inflammation of edema but the excessive build up of tissue proteins as well. Lymphedema can be primary lymphedema or secondary lymphedema. This means that lymphedema can either be caused on its own (primary) or it is one of the side effects of a separate issue. Wide width shoes with adjustable closures can be perfect because they accommodate different levels of swelling.

Diabetic Foot Ulcer:

The most common foot problem associated with diabetics is neuropathy. This condition causes weakness, numbness, and pain. Complications can arise when minor cuts and sores are not noticed, and areas become infected, so it is important to keep a check. Diabetic socks and socks for edema legs are an excellent choice for swollen feet and swollen ankles for women & men. Socks for diabetes offer wider widths and a non-constrictive fit so they can accommodate different levels of swelling. Often one foot or ankle may have more swelling and socks that can compensate for this are extremely beneficial.

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Diabetic Socks for Men and Women

Flat feet:

Although flat feet is a condition you are born with, the pain associated with it can get worse as we age. The other reason for flat feet is often fallen arches from improper footwear. A person can either live with flat arches normally, or a flat arch can cause many other problems in the foot. The function of your arch is to distribute your body weight in your foot which in turn will continue to aid in distributing your body weight throughout the entire body. Being flat-footed often does not require treatment unless it is causing the individual pain. However, you can always take precautions to ensure that the foot does not develop any problems. For many who have flat feet, finding the right footwear can be an arduous task. Flat feet require some cushioned arch supports.

Callus:

Calluses and corn may be very common, but they get in the way or daily tasks and activities. Calluses and corns are hardened layers of skin that form when there is constant friction and pressure against the skin. This happens when individuals have been wearing poorly fitted shoes. If your loved one has been wearing tight-fitted shoes or shoes with inflexible materials, corns and calluses can get worse and hurt more.

Has your senior loved one suffered from any of the above? Any tips or suggestions that you would like to share with us? Leave a comment and let us know!

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The Giving Care Team is a group of senior and adaptive clothing professionals dedicated to helping the elderly maintain a comfortable and dignified lifestyle with tips and secrets on how to get the most out of life when disability and age fight to stop us at every opportunity. The Giving Care Blog is a resource for seniors, their families and caregivers.

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