Tips on Foot Care for Seniors
An engineering marvel: Our feet walk over 100,000 miles in our lifetime
Socrates said that when your feet hurt, you hurt all over. Indeed, our feet take a lot of wear. Some say that a person walks more than 100,000 miles during his lifetime. While our feet are well-built for this kind use, foot problems are very common. Here are four tips for taking good care of your feet.
Watch the Water
Aging feet tend to lose protective fat. Add the effects of prolonged sun damage, and your feet can become wrinkled, leathery, and prone to lose their natural elasticity. Many commercial creams are water-based; they feel good when you use them, but as the water becomes absorbed into your body, the dryness returns. Over time, water-based lotions do not help.
Check the label of any foot lotion you purchase. If the basic ingredient is water, pass that one up and go for an emollient instead. Eucalyptus oil is said to bind water, soothe and detoxify, all at the same time. Other emollients that contain lanolin, coconut oil, shea butter or squalene are good choices.
Get Into a Routine
Pay attention to your feet each day. Wash with tepid water, not hot. Apply emollients afterward (within about 3 minutes of washing) to maximize the effects. Hot water will dry your skin further, as will vigorous rubbing with a towel after washing. Pat your feet dry. Avoid leaving moisturizing lotions between your toes. Top off your daily care with a quick inspection: Look for cracks, skin injuries or bruises, or signs of infection that might demand the attention of your podiatrist, especially if you suffer from a circulatory problem or diabetes.
Paying attention to your feet means more than washing them. It also means minding your posture while sitting,. Try not to compromise the circulation to your feet by crossing your legs when you are sitting for a prolonged period. Avoid tight socks and hose that constrict your blood flow. Put your feet up. Improve the circulation to your feet by elevating them above the level of your heart if you must sit for a prolonged period.
Take Care of Your Toes
Wear sandals, trim your toenails straight across, and make sure your shoes give you plenty of toe room (3/8 to ½ inch longer than your longest toe). Use an emery board instead of clippers if you have any circulatory problems, to avoid nicking yourself.
Inspect your feet weekly for these common problems: