Foot Care for Seniors

We have used our feet with abundance to keep us balanced and mobile. Take note of these tips for proper foot care for older adults to regain that spring in your step!
Male hands giving foot massage to himself

Aging affects every part of the human body and the feet are not excluded. Their health and well-being become even more essential as we get older, as activities we used to take for granted become labored efforts of exertion.

First, the good news! With daily care and nurturing, plus medical attention when needed, your feet can subdue and lay waste to Father Time’s wrath. By understanding potential foot health challenges now, you’ll be in the power position to take proactive steps for foot care for seniors. And taking “steps” is what foot health is all about.

Why Aging Feet Need Care

Just like the rest of your body, your feet go through some changes as you age. And while you may not think much about your feet on a day-to-day basis, giving them a little bit of extra care can make a big difference in your overall comfort and mobility.

As we age, our feet go through a lot of wear and tear. Over time, the fatty pads that cushion our feet begin to break down, leaving us susceptible to pain when we walk or stand. Additionally, the connective tissues in our feet can become weaker, causing the arch of the foot to collapse. This can lead to problems such as bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.

On top of this, aging feet are more prone to injury and are slower to heal. That's why foot care for older adults is so important.

What Are Common Foot Problems?

There are a number of common foot problems that can cause pain and interfere with your daily activities. Here are some of the most common problems:

  • Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that causes itching, redness, and blistering. It often affects the skin between the toes.
  • Bunions are a deformity of the big toe, causing it to point inward toward the other toes. This can cause pain and difficulty walking.
  • Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toe, causing it to bend downward at the joint. This can also cause pain and difficulty walking.
  • Heel spurs are bony growths on the heel bone that can cause pain when walking or standing.
  • Arthritis is another common ailment in older adults. While arthritis in seniors does not necessarily target the foot itself, the limping caused by most arthritis cases adds pressure to your foot, which can lead to different foot conditions.

Tips for Foot Care for Seniors

Taking care of your feet doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Check out these 6 steps to home foot care for seniors.

Step 1: Be Proactive About Spreading

Spreading isn’t only for butter. Feet spread too as the years pass. A combination of gravity and time causes this to happen in both men and women. This widening may mean you have to go to a different size when choosing footwear.

Would you believe that some people continue to wear old shoes despite the discomfort? Don’t be a victim of habit; avoid wearing shoes that don't fit comfortably anymore. Doing so can lead to long-term foot problems that will be more troublesome and expensive than buying new shoes. Trust us.

Happy Feet Tip: Foot care for adults starts with getting a bigger or wider size. Don’t wait.

Step 2: Prepare for Loss of Fat Padding

Home foot care for seniors tip number 2 is to give your feet TLC! Fat pads inside the foot get thinner as people age which can often lead to atrophy. This means serious discomfort when walking or standing for long periods of time.

A change to a more comfortable type of walking shoe may be necessary. There are also many cushioning products to put inside shoes. A little preparation will go a long way to making you feel comfortable when standing and walking.

Happy Feet Tip: Get comfortable shoes…again! Use padding.

Step 3: Counter Thinning Skin

Aging creates thinning of skin all over the body. The skin of your feet is also thinning and may be more susceptible to injuries and infections. After bathing, examine your feet carefully. Take daily care of small injuries with antiseptic ointment and band-aids. Stay alert to lingering skin problems that could require medical treatment.

Happy Feet Tip: Check your feet daily after bathing.

An elderly woman with walking poles on the road in the park

Step 4: Strengthen Tendons and Ligaments

As one gets older, the tendons and ligaments that provide smooth movement in the feet may weaken. This can lead to sprains or problems with gait. The solution? Get good shoes that support the feet. Practice regular exercise such as stretching, walking, and yoga to help keep strength and flexibility.

Happy Feet Tip: Exercise! Walking and yoga are good for the feet. Did we mention something about good shoes?

Step 5: Prevent and Cure Nail Problems

You may also experience thickening of the nails or notice they break more easily. This problem occurs naturally with aging. Trim your toenails regularly. To prevent problems, trim with care: not too short and not too close on the sides. Take care of ingrown nails early to prevent worsening of the problem.

If you prefer, consider getting a pedicure as part of your healthy foot regime. You could meet a friend and make it a social event as well.

Happy Feet Tip: Take care of your nails.

Step 6: Know What Affects Foot Health

Medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and circulation problems can affect the health of your feet. If you have a health problem, make sure you manage it appropriately. Talk to your doctor about any foot problems that might be related to your general health.

Happy Feet Tip: Ask if any medical conditions you have could be affecting your feet.

Happy Feet, Happy Life

Specialists in podiatry recommend a number of measures to help keep your feet healthy as you age. Check out this shortlist. If you notice that there’s something you aren’t doing or could do better to support your foot health—take action.

  • Stay Active: Stay physically active to keep muscles, tendons, and ligaments strong and flexible.
  • Get Good Shoes: Pay careful attention to your footwear, choosing shoes that provide good support and fit the feet well.
  • Add Support: Use additional cushioning if you find your feet tire easily or have sensitive spots.
  • Be Proactive: If you have diabetes, manage your blood sugar levels and follow your physician's instructions on proper foot care.
  • See A Specialist: See a podiatrist immediately if you have foot or nail problems, so you can prevent more serious problems from developing

Assistance Club Summary

People depend on their feet for daily tasks and to enjoy activities in the wider world. If you take steps to ensure good foot health now, you will be able to participate fully in life, regardless of how many candles you count on your birthday cake. We hope this Senior Assistance Club guide on foot care for seniors has been insightful. Happy steppin’!