Caring for Ageing Feet: How Your Podiatrist Helps

As we get older, certain tasks get that little bit harder – whether it’s getting your shoes on, opening a jar, or reaching your feet to trim your toenails. This is why skin and nail care is a very important part of what we do here as podiatrists. Taking care of ageing feet goes beyond maintaining comfort; it contributes to mobility, balance, and the enjoyment of an active lifestyle. Whether we’re reducing the thickness of your nails, removing corns, or managing cracked heels, we know that by relieving your pain and improving your comfort, we’re directly helping you to keep moving on your feet, so you can optimise your health.

Here’s a look at the ways that our team here at Perform Podiatry helps to manage and maintain the foot health of older adults.

Footwear Assessment, Advice and Modifications

Your shoes become the ground you walk on, being responsible for supporting your comfort, stability and mobility. We work closely with older adults to ensure that their shoes are helping them through every step and not hindering them, and give personalised advice based on any foot conditions or ailments you have – from foot pain to bunions and more.

Generally speaking, you want to opt for shoes that provide ample support, cushioning, and a proper fit. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to discomfort, blisters, and even foot deformities. Look for shoes with a wide toe box and adjustable fasteners to accommodate potential foot swelling.

Keeping Toenails Trimmed

When your toenails are properly trimmed and maintained, it reduces your risk of ingrown toenails and related infections. Podiatrists can also reduce the thickness of your toenails, improving both your comfort and their appearance. If managing toenails at home, you want to trim them straight across and avoid cutting them too short to prevent discomfort.

Managing Corns And Calluses

Like with toenails, regular podiatry appointments help you stay on top of any corns and calluses that arise, meaning you get to walk comfortably and without pain. It is not recommended to attempt to manage these at home due to the risks in older feet.

Providing A ‘Second Eye’

While it’s one thing to advise older adults to regularly check their feet for signs of deterioration, redness, sores, blisters, cuts or anything else that’s sinister, it’s very different to be able to do it, especially with vision changes and greater difficulty reaching the feet. Your podiatrist acts as a ‘second eye’ at every skin and nail care appointment, catching potential issues early that may have been missed which can prevent them from escalating into more serious complications.

Addressing Dry Skin

Ageing skin tends to become drier, and this applies to the feet as well. Your podiatrist can help with dry skin as well as complications such as cracks in the heels, helping promote your comfort and reducing the risk of infection. If managing dry skin at home, applying a moisturiser, especially to the heels, can prevent cracking and discomfort. Avoid applying lotion between the toes, as it can create a moist environment conducive to fungal growth.

Monitoring Foot Sensation

Loss of sensation in the feet is another common issue among older adults, which can lead to unnoticed injuries. This is something that you can discuss with your podiatrist at your appointment, and something they can help you monitor and manage. At home, regularly check for numbness, tingling, or changes in sensation and consult a healthcare provider if such issues arise.

Preventing Falls

A person’s fall risk can be reduced by 36% when working with a podiatrist. With approximately one third of all falls being preventable in nature, many people are choosing to work proactively with their podiatrist in areas such as falls risk assessments, footwear checks, custom foot orthotics, balance assessments and more to help reduce their falls risk and improve their long-term health and comfort.

If your feet or legs are causing you pain or discomfort, or you’ve found that over the years you are no longer able to care for them in the best way, then our Perform Podiatry team here in Remuera, Auckland, are here to help. We’re proud to help thousands of people every year look after their foot health. We’d love for you to join us.

Book your appointment by calling us on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

Retirement: Looking After Your Feet So They’ll Look After You

Looking forward to a retirement filled with… anything you like? Whether you’re retired or nearing it, it’s an exciting time that many spend decades looking forward to, knowing you can plan your days on your own terms, and finally enjoy all the things you haven’t had time for previously. There’s just one thing that many people don’t plan for: when their feet or legs can’t keep up with what they want to do. In part, this is a result of the natural changes to our bodies that come with ageing. In another part, it’s the decades on our feet, expecting them to take us everywhere, day after day, with little time made to take care of them to help them do this safely. It all adds up, and the result may be that retirement can look quite different than what we’d imagined. The good news? It’s not too late to start looking after your feet. Here are four key ways to help look after your feet and legs so they can look after you through your retirement.  

1. Wear Supportive Shoes & Slippers

As your feet move along the ground, a variety of forces are transferred through your bones, joints, muscles and ligaments. One of the factors of ageing is that we have less natural protection in our feet, bones can be more prominent, and the threshold of what our feet can handle before injury occurs lessens – making us more vulnerable without the right support and protection. The role of a good shoe is to support the foot with every step, so that the impact of the forces is significantly lessened. This reduces your risk of pain and injury. Your shoes also help improve your stability at your feet and ankles, helping prevent falls and sprains. Given the thinner and more vulnerable nature of the skin in our golden years, wearing shoes outside and slippers inside also helps protect against cuts and wounds from stones, loose items on our floors, stubbing toes on the corners of tables and more.  

2. Keep Moving

It’s natural to assume that when we feel any pain, that we should be resting and taking it easy. This is likely what has caused many people to believe that in retirement, the more they rest, the healthier their body will grow and the less pain they’ll experience, if they’re currently experiencing any. The truth is quite the opposite. Staying active through retirement is an absolute must – and it’s this regular activity that will help us stay comfortable, mobile and independent. This is because physical activity helps us keep our muscles and our bones strong, so we can stay moving without restrictions. Physical activity has countless other benefits for our heart health and other illnesses, reducing the risk for diabetes and much more. The less we move, the weaker we’ll grow, and the less we’ll be able to move when we want to.  

3. Take Care Of Your Nails And Skin Around Your Feet

Caring for your nails and skin, especially before they become a problem, is an important way to help you stay active and do the things you love in your retirement. When callus is left and allowed to build up, it can quickly feel like you’re walking on a painful pebble. If nails are left unmanaged, they can grow hard, thick and painful.  If you find your feet difficult to reach and care for, or you’re unsure how to take the best care of your feet, see your podiatrist for professional help. Here at Perform Podiatry, we offer treatment for all skin and nail problems ranging from ingrown toenail to fungal nail infections to cracked heels and warts. We also offer medical pedicures for safe, hygienic foot care to give you peace of mind.  

4. Don’t Let Foot Or Leg Pain Progress Past A Niggle Or Ache

When a dull ache starts, or you experience pain, it’s your body’s warning sign that something isn’t quite right. It’s very important to listen to this sign, and a dull ache or niggle caused by a mild stress fracture or a mild muscle strain can quickly progress and worsen to a large fracture or a severe sprain or even tear in the muscle. The more severe the injury, the longer and more complex it is to manage and recover from. This takes away time from your hard-earned retirement where you’re unable to do the things you planned – and like we mentioned before, the more downtime you have, the weaker your body can grow and the more effort it takes to recover. If pain starts, we highly recommend seeing your podiatrist to help manage it and nip it at the bud. This is something we help many people with every week, with the goal of keeping them happy, mobile, active and doing the things they love. With treatment, it’s important to not just address the symptoms, but also understand why they occurred, to help prevent the problem from happening again in the future. This is an important focus for our podiatrists – we want to help you lead a long and active life without pain, as opposed to seeing us a few times a year for the same pain coming back and needing treatment.  

Want To Stay Active Through Your Retirement?

If your feet or legs are holding you back from the goal of staying active through your retirement, then our podiatry team here in Remuera, Auckland, are here to help. We’re proud to help thousands of people every year look after their foot health. We’d love for you to join us. Book your appointment by calling us on 09 523 2333 or book online.