5 Steps to Caring for Seniors’ Feet During the Summer Season
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to our long-term health. Often, we concern ourselves with vital organs, like our heart or skin, but this has the potential of letting other important aspects of our bodies fall by the wayside, like our feet.
Let's face it, we take our feet for granted. But, as a complicated body part with 26 bones, your feet must be well maintained, since they take you from Point A to Point B in your day-to-day activities. Because our feet are complex and endure quite a bit of ware-and-tear, they are very susceptible to problems as we age.
As we get older, our cells hold less water, affecting collagen, tendons, and ligaments in the feet. If this weren’t bad enough, circulation diminishes and healing ability lessens, making infections, joint injuries, and bony growths more common. Unfortunately, summer spells out even more problems for seniors and their feet. With this blog, however, you can get your foot in the door when it comes to senior foot health.
Wash and Dry Feet Daily.
Sure, the summer sun makes it more pleasant to enjoy outdoor ventures, but it also means that you’ll produce more sweat, especially in Southeastern Louisiana. Your foot has 125,000 sweat glands, to be exact— so there’s a lot of opportunity for bacterial and fungal buildup. It’s important to monitor your feet for any skin problems and notify your doctor if you notice an open sore or possible infection. Like cleaning your feet daily, cleaning your orthotic aids frequently is also vital to your foot health.
Wear Sunblock Whenever Outside.
Whether you’re a firm believer in regular sunscreen application or tend to glance over it when packing up for a day out, the fact remains that many people don’t consider applying sunscreen to their feet. As a senior, you become even more inclined to develop skin cancer, especially if you’re light-skinned and over the age of 65. So, stay responsible, lather up generously, and courageously take on a day full of sunshine.
Take Care of Toenails and Barefeet.
Aging comes with plenty of things you don’t expect, and one of those things is brittle nails and thinner, less elastic skin. This means that caution must be taken when tending to toenails, refraining from trimming off any pieces of skin. Hello! Ingrown toenails, anyone? Also, be extremely careful in removing dead skin and buffing out calluses. Speaking of the bottoms of your feet, make sure you wear sandals whenever visiting a public pool or shower to prevent athlete’s foot.
Drink the Recommended Amount of Water.
A common recommendation amongst any health blog finds its way here as well. Drink plenty of water! If you suffer from swollen feet or limbs, this is typically an indicator that you need to be drinking more H2O— half your body weight in ounces is recommended daily. You can also consume fluids in other ways, like eating lots of water-rich fruits and veggies. But, why go through all the trouble, anyway? Well, staying hydrated allows your body to release fluids it’s been storing in its tissues. Enough said!
Move It, Move It. You Need to Move It.
Seniors need to keep their legs and feet moving, just like anyone else. The only difference is you have to work a little bit harder. Not only are you older, but you’re also less flexible. Being that your feet are the farthest body part from your heart, you must defy gravity to circulate blood up the body. But, don’t be afraid to look for assistance when it comes to completing simple stretches, ankle rolls, or toe wiggles. And remember: get up and move around every 30 minutes or so, or risk the consequences of immobility.
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It's Healthy Aging Month! And, this September we are providing tips for improving your loved one's and your physical, mental, social and financial well-being. It's not too late to take control of your health!