You change as you age, but so do your feet

If you want to age gracefully, it is also important to maintain foot health in order to help you properly move about.  Mobility is important for gaining the independence that is needed to help our aging population remain active and healthy.  Foot ailments make it difficult and sometimes impossible to work or participate in social activities.  Just as you need to prepare a newborn’s health by visiting doctors, you need to maintain proper foot health to prevent various foot ailments that could disrupt your life.

Foot problems can be prevented

There are more than 300 different foot ailments and some can even be traced back to heredity, with the majority of foot pain being treated by your podiatrist to eliminate any problems.  For the aging population, most of these foot ailments stem from the cumulative years of neglect or abuse, but even people in their retirement years, foot problems can be treated successfully, and pain relieved.

As a person ages, their feet tend to spread and lose the fatty pads that cushion the bottom of the feet.  Additional weight can also affect the bone and ligament structure. Older people, consequently, should have their feet measured for shoe sizes more frequently, rather than assuming that their shoe sizes remain constant. Observing preventive foot health care has many benefits for you, the patient.  Preventive measures can increase comfort, limit the possibility of additional medical problems, reduce the chances of hospitalization because of infection, and lessen requirements for other institutional care.

Remember these health tips for feet

When it comes to your feet, it is important to take extra precautions and properly care for your feet.  Some common foot health tips include:

  • Properly fitted shoes are essential; an astonishing number of people wear shoes that
    don’t fit right, and cause serious foot problems.
  • Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm (not hot) water, using a mild soap, preferably one
    containing moisturizers, or use a moisturizer separately.
  • Trim or file your toenails straight across.
  • Pantyhose or stockings should be of the correct size and preferably free of seams.
  • A shoe with a firm sole and soft upper is best for daily activities.
  • Shop for shoes in the afternoon; feet tend to swell during the day.
  • Walking is the best exercise for your feet.
  • Do not wear constricting garters or tie your stockings in knots.
  • Never cut corns and calluses with a razor, pocket knife, or other such instrument;
    use over-the-counter foot products only with the advice of a podiatrist.
  • Inspect your feet every day or have someone do this for you. If you notice any redness,
    swelling, cracks in the skin, or sores, consult your podiatrist.
  • Have your feet examined by a DPM at least twice a year.

 

Toenail Fungus: Prevention and Treatment

If you fancy open-toed footwear or enjoy basking barefoot, then you need to pay attention to the health of those toenails. A fungal infection – also known as onychomycosis – doesn’t disappear on its own, and if contracted and left untreated, the fungus will spread and eventually lead to the destruction of the nail. Toenail fungus is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail becomes darker in color and smells foul. It is also one of the most difficult conditions to cure due to the fact that before it can be treated, you have to determine what caused it with the help of your doctor.

Symptoms

You may have nail fungus if one or more of your nails are:

  • Thickened
  • Brittle, crumbly, or ragged
  • Distorted in shape
  • Dull, with no shine
  • A dark color

Fight off Fungus

Your risk of developing toenail fungus (onychomycosis) can be minimized by following these tips:

  • Keep nails clean and cut short
  • Dry feet and the spaces in between your toes thoroughly after washing them
  • Avoid sharing nail clippers or footwear
  • Wear properly fitting shoes that allow your feet to breathe
  • Spray your shoes with an antifungal medicine
  • Thoroughly clean nail clippers and other pedicure tools between uses (when visiting a nail salon, ask questions to assure the vicinity is clean)
  • Don’t apply nail polish to nails suspected of infection

Home Care Tips

If you have a mild fungal nail infection or are concerned about the risks of taking antifungal pills, try an antifungal medicine that you can apply directly to the skin. Some people find that tea tree oil or cream works well for this condition and can also treat athlete’s foot as well. Additionally, you should go barefoot as much as possible and if your feet get cold, be sure to wear dry, clean, socks. Moist socks and shoes breed fungal growth. Do not wear your sock or hosiery more than one day without washing.

When to Visit a Podiatrist

The area below and around the nail can get red and inflamed due to infection or due to an intense natural reaction to the fungus. Additionally, an odor may also arise in the case of infection. If self-care steps haven’t eliminated the fungus, it’s time to schedule a visit with your podiatrist. Not all cases of toenail fungus require treatment with medication, but a prescribed anti-fungal cream may be appropriate based on the type of fungus that is causing the infection.

If you observe any abnormal changes in your toenail, it is important to visit your doctor for a prompt foot assessment. If left untreated, a toenail fungus can lead to serious complications, including the possible loss of your nail, or a bacterial infection.

This newsletter/website is not intended to replace the services of a doctor. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Information in this newsletter/website is for informational purposes only & is not a substitute for professional advice. Please do not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating any condition.