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.
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.