An Overview of Geriatric Podiatry and Health: How to Improve Foot Health in Seniors
As people age, their feet become more susceptible to injuries, chronic conditions, and an increased risk of falls. Foot problems can also be a sign of other underlying health issues. For seniors, a major part of preventive health care and independence involves the purchase of appropriate shoes and visiting a geriatric podiatrist regularly.
What is Geriatric Podiatry?
Geriatric podiatry is a specialized form of podiatric medicine that focuses on the care of elderly feet. A geriatric podiatrist is aware of the medical and biomechanical problems associated with older feet, and how they can be treated without compromising the elderly person’s mobility or increasing their risk of falls and fractures.
Common Foot Issues in the Elderly Patient
Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is a common condition among the elderly. It can lead to stiffness and pain in the feet and difficulty walking.
Diabetic Foot: Diabetics are at risk for ulcers and other age-related conditions and may require specialized shoes.
Wound Care: Seniors can experience poor circulation in the feet which can lead to slow healing of injured toes, corns, and callouses.
Neuropathy: Diabetic neuropathy can lead to numbness or tingling in the feet, making it harder to sense injuries or balance when walking.
Bunions: A bunion is a deformity caused by the misalignment of the big toe joint. The foot’s pressure points are shifted, making it harder to wear certain types of shoes.
Benefits of Visiting a Geriatric Podiatrist
Visiting a geriatric podiatrist can provide a senior with a comprehensive care plan. A geriatric podiatrist can evaluate the feet of an elderly person and make recommendations for proper foot care, such as choosing the right shoes and providing nutritional advice for maintaining strong and healthy feet. They can also provide treatments for common foot problems, such as corns and calluses.
Tips to Improve Foot Health in Seniors
Check Shoes Regularly: Check shoes for wear and tear often. Be sure to replace old shoes with ones that fit properly and provide good support.
Exercise: Regular exercise can help to keep the feet strong. Low-impact activities such as walking or swimming are important for seniors to keep the feet in shape.
Keep Feet Clean and Dry: Seniors should wash their feet daily and make sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
Moisturize Skin: Use a moisturizer to keep the feet supple and reduce risk of cracks and dryness.
Trim Toenails Properly: Toenails should be trimmed straight across the nail bed. Don’t cut or file too deep or too close to the sides of the nail bed.
Always Wear Socks: Wear socks to prevent rubbing and irritation. Avoid wearing shoes without socks.
Foot health is a vital part of overall wellness for seniors. A geriatric podiatrist can help seniors to keep their feet healthy and help them to stay mobile. Regular foot checks, proper foot hygiene, and the appropriate choice of shoes can go a long way to keeping seniors healthy and independent.