Geriatric Foot Care Overview
Age related changes in foot and ankle mirrors the aging process. Throughout our lives, our feet is constantly stressed due to constant pressure from our weight with added stress from walking and running. The constant pressure and stress on our feet leads to foot conditions such as foot strain, arthritis, and soft tissue inflammatory conditions. These conditions become more prominent as we get older, leading to discomfort, pain and decreased quality of life.
The ability to walk comfortably without pain is a key part of aging successfully.
Age-Related Changes in the Feet:
- Skin become dry and loses its elasticity
- Fat pad atrohpy (decreased fat cushion to the bottom of the feet)
- Skin temperature becomes cool
- Increased hyperkeratosis ( corns / calluses) due to increased sheared stress
- Toe nails become thick and brittle
- Foot size changes: foot widens, size may get bigger
- Gait becomes slower and less forceful with shorter stride
- Brown discoloration / pigmentation to foot and ankle may suggest decreased circulation
- Loss of hair to toes and foot may suggest decreased circulation
- Arthritis, Bunion, Hammertoe, Tendonitis and Foot Strain
Foot Care Recommendations:
- If you can not bend your knees, use a long handle mirror to examine the bottom of your feet.
- Examine your feet daily and look for any abrasions or cuts. Always check between your toes for skin breakdown as it is ofter a source of infection.
- Moisturize skin with moisturizing cream or lotion. Avoid moisturizing between the toes.
- Always cut your nail straight across. If you are a diabetic or if you have poor circulation or poor sensation please see a qualified medical professional for routine foot care.
- Routinely reduce corns and calluses with Pumice stone. If you are a diabetic or if you have poor circulation or poor sensation please see a qualified medical professional for routine foot care.
- Never wear shoes without socks.
- Always wear white cotton socks as it will show blood if you were to have a cut or an ulcer.
- Wear shoes that are comfortable. If you have bunions or hammertoes, wide and extra depth shoes are recommended.
- If you unable to bend to tie your shoe laces due to arthritis, hand weakness or visual loss, we recommend shoes with VELCRO® straps.
- Individuals who have lost the fatty cushion to the bottom of the foot, also know as fat pad atrophy, may benefit from Accomodative pressure relief inserts.
- The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (FHA)
- Weg, RB: Aging and aged in contemporary society. Phys Ther 53: 749-756, 1973
- Edelstein, J: Foot care for the aging. Phys Ther 68:1882-1886, 1988
* VELCRO USA, Inc. 406 Brown Ave, Manchester, NH 03103