I guess I first came to appreciate my feet when I was training for the Komen 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk a few years ago. The event involved walking 20 miles a day for 3 days with thousands of other women (and men) of all ages raising funds for breast cancer research and education. Of course, you don’t get out of bed one day and do this…it took about 6 months of training…walking weeknights and weekends, building up stamina, experimenting with the rights socks and shoes and toughening up the feet. I experienced some blisters along the way along with painful plantar fasciitis which led me to my first visit with a podiatrist. I’m proud to say that my healthy feet got me through several 3 Day Walks in Philadelphia and DC.
Why is it so important to have healthy feet? As you get older, it’s so important to keep mobile and mobility usually involves your feet, right? Mobility obviously allows you to get from one place to another but as you get older, movement helps in maintaining your muscles, strength and balance. Being active decreases the risk of a fall. Many people feel that hey, if I’m not active I won’t fall, however, the opposite occurs. If you’re not active, you become weak and are not as steady on your feet, leading to falls and most likely a hip fracture. Hip fractures can involve a lengthy hospital stay as well as time in a rehab center or nursing home for physical therapy and recovery. Luckily, when you return home, we can help with senior care in Montgomery and Upper Bucks Counties.
Part of senior care is taking care of your feet and here are some guidelines for doing just that:
1) Foot Hygiene – this involves washing your feet daily including between your toes and making sure that the feet are then dried thoroughly. Moisture can lead to Athlete’s foot and fungal toenails.
2) Inspect your Feet – if you aren’t able to inspect your feet due to poor eyesight or lack of flexibility, then have a family member help out or make an appointment at a podiatrist. Look for sore spots or cuts which can lead to infection. Poor circulation or reduce nerve sensation requires a visual inspection.
3) Nail Trimming – nails should be cut straight across to avoid ingrown toenails which can lead to infection. If this happens, a trip to the podiatrist is in order especially for diabetics who are susceptible to infections
4) Footwear – good footwear is worth the extra money you might spend on it. Make sure the soles are non-slip and that there’s enough room in the shoes for orthotics or padded socks which can help with preventing sores.