Foot care is important at any age, but especially so during your senior years. You rely on your feet – keep them healthy for a long, healthy and mobile life. Here are a few tips to help you do that.
- Practice good foot care and frequently check your feet for sores, cracks in the skin, and other problems. Have a family member or in home care provider check your feet if you cannot.
- Improve circulation into and out of your lower legs by sitting in a recliner or bed that raises your feet above the level of your heart. Gravity helps blood flow away from feet, back toward the heart. This allows fresh, oxygen-rich blood to flow into the tissue in your lower legs and feet.
- Stimulate circulation even more by stretching after you have been sitting for a long time. Walking, a gentle foot massage, or a warm footbath also work well.
- Avoid sitting for long periods, especially with your legs crossed. Get up and stretch every couple of hours.
- Do not wear uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes, especially footwear that pinches. Loose shoes can rub against your foot as you walk, to create sores or calluses. Tight shoes prohibit proper blood circulation in and out of your feet.
- Avoid exposing your feet to cold temperatures. Exposure to cold temperatures can cause a variety of health problems, such as the less serious version of frostbite known as “frostnip,” trench foot and chilblains. Trench foot occurs when the body shuts down blood circulation to the feet in an effort to retain body heat. During chilblains, cold temperatures permanently damage tiny blood vessels to cause redness and itching. Trench foot and chilblains can develop at temperatures as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not smoke. In addition to other health conditions, smoking reduces circulation in a way that causes foot problems.
- Foot problems may be an early sign of a more serious disorder, such as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve and circulatory conditions. Consult with a physician if foot problems grow worse or do not get better in time.
Dance through life on feet that feel great. Take care of your feet today, and they will serve you well tomorrow.