Geriatric Foot Care

Congratulations! You have earned the status of Senior Citizen. Your age entitles you to retire, receive discounts, and even " do the casino thing!" But aging also has its downfalls. Remember-you probably don't move as fast as you used to and your body seems to echo aches and pains. You might get winded performing normal day-to-day activities, while your sense of altered balance leaves you prone to falls and accidents. The elderly are subject to many foot disorders that leave them handicapped if not prevented or treated. Some of these disorders include: arthritis, ingrown toenails, fungal nails, diabetic ulcers, and even corns and calluses. Elderly patients with diabetes often develop eye disease and lose acuity of sight therefore, making it difficult to see and detect foot problems.

As a senior citizen, you have a responsibility to yourself of keeping your feet healthy so that as you age, you can still participate in and enjoy life's daily activities. Body parts are like car parts; they "break down" after a while. But unlike auto parts some of them cannot be replaced.

Tips for Seniors:

  • *Don't rush. Take your time. Society will wait for you. Rushing only increases your accident potential. Use handrails and canes when necessary. In the bathtub, use the grab bar. Avoid bath oils, as the tub floor is already very slippery.
  • *Keep floors and hallways in the home free of stray objects. Also, do not use "throw rugs" in entryways or stairwells. They are slippery and hazardous and can cause you to trip over them.
  • *Keep moving! A daily exercise routine contributes to a healthy body and mind. Walking is an ideal form of exercise for seniors. Depending on one's physical condition, average walking can be combined with brisk walks and jogging, offering strengthening benefits to the feet, as well as the heart and lungs.

Foot care for Seniors

  • *See your podiatrist regularly. Prevention and maintenance is the best practice in order to continually have healthy feet.
  • *Inspect your feet daily, especially if you are a diabetic. (See Diabetic Foot Management). If you are unable to see your feet adequately, ask for assistance. You can also hold a mirror to the bottom of your feet to view it by reflection. Don't ignore the two things that enable you to participate in life's daily activities.
  • *Avoid walking barefoot. Wear soft leather shoes that offer support and that are made with natural leather with rubber soles and heels. (See Footwear Program)
  • *Ask your podiatrist if you are a candidate for orthotics. Orthotics will improve foot function, offer arch support, and act as a shock absorber. Orthotics also aid in knee, hip, and back pain.
  • *Never use commercial corn pads or medicines. They contain Salicylic Acid and often burn and irritate the skin, causing harm to the tissue. (See Bunions and Corns)
  • *Avoid sitting with your knees crossed, as it reduces circulation. Wearing circular garters and elastic banded hose also reduces circulation.
  • *Seek surgical interventions when necessary. A chronic source of pain or irritation can be eliminated by a simple surgical procedure, restoring a patient's quality of life.


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