Seniors Thinking On Their Feet


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While there are limitless factors that play into seniors staying healthy and active, in many ways, mobility starts from the ground up. After all, if your feet don’t feel good, isn’t it tempting to stay off of them?

At Home Instead Senior Care serving Central Oregon we are firm believers in keeping every part of the body in tip top shape, which is why we were happy to learn from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) that, with proper detection, intervention, and care, most foot and ankle problems can be lessened or prevented.

This is great news and it’s also a very good reason to be sure to see your doctor as soon as any foot problems arise. In the meantime, here are some of our best preventative pointers from APMA for keeping senior feet good to go.

Take Care of Overall Health:

Conditions like diabetes and arthritis can have a major impact on foot health. Be sure to stay current with your medication and keep up with the treatment regimen your doctor has prescribed. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise is, of course, always key to general wellness.

Prevent Infection:

Keeping feet clean is not just a matter of aesthetics, it is also important to overall foot health. Be sure to wash feet daily, including between the toes, with soap and water, and dry completely before putting on shoes and socks. Also, inspect feet regularly and treat callouses and blisters as they occur. If you have an ingrown toenail or infection, talk to your doctor about it right away, before it has the chance to become a bigger problem.

Aid Circulation:

  • Keep feet elevated when you’re sitting down.
  • Take a warm bath to improve blood flow. This is also great for soothing aches and pains!
  • Stretch or gently massage your feet regularly.
  • Try to avoid sitting for long periods. Even a short stroll will help.
  • If you cross your legs, uncross them or switch sides every few minutes.

On Balance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors, which means that choosing shoes that aid senior stability can go a long way toward keeping them out of the hospital.

APMA suggests the following guidelines for selecting footwear for better balance:

  • Put shoes to the 1-2-3 test:

o   Step 1: Press on both sides of the heel area to ensure the heel is stiff and won't collapse.

o   Step 2: Bend the shoe to check for toe flexibility. The shoe shouldn't bend too much in the toe box area, but it shouldn't be too stiff and inflexible either.

o   Step 3: Try twisting the shoe; it shouldn't twist in the middle.

  • Have your feet professionally measured every time you shoe shop. Natural aging and health changes can cause the size of your feet to change. Measure both feet—late in the day—and shop for the larger foot.
  • Bring the type of socks you plan to wear with the shoes and walk around the store in the shoes before you purchase them.
  • If you don't feel comfortable or steady in the store, don't buy them. Shoes should feel comfortable and supportive right away; if they don't feel good right away, breaking them in won't improve things.
  • If you have specific health challenges or foot issues, talk to a podiatrist about the best footwear for your needs. If your podiatrist has prescribed orthotics—biomechanical inserts that go into your shoes—take them with you when you shop and try them out in the shoes you're considering.
  • Quality shoes can be an investment. Before you buy, check to see if the brand and style you're considering have earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance. APMA grants the seals to products found to promote good foot health.

For more information about helping seniors maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, please contact our office at 541-330-6400.

 

 

 

 


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