Podiatric Care for Elderly People: It’s Not Just About Shoe Inserts and Bunion Creams

Podiatric Care for Elderly PeopleDo you suffer from poor circulation in your feet? If so, and you happen to be over the age of 50, chances are you’re in good company. Why? It is a condition that commonly affects our country’s senior members, especially those that live rather sedentary lifestyles. It may lead to edema, undesirable skin changes, prolonged infections, painful cramps and a thickening of the toenails. On an upbeat note, receiving podiatric care geared towards elderly people may help resolve at least some of those complaints.

Podiatrists typically attack circulatory problems using a variety of modalities. For example, they may suggest that seniors start using topical creams that contain a mixture of L-Arginine and nitric oxide (e.g. HealthiFeet ). They are widely recognized as two agents that help improve blood vessel health and overall circulation. This is often especially the case when they are combined with therapeutic massage, hot/cold therapy and foot exercises.

It is also not unusual for podiatrists that believe in using a holistic approach to treat elderly people’s feet to prescribe the use of herbal supplements or medicinal herbs. The list of those that are known to help improve circulation in the lower extremities includes, but isn’t restricted to ginkgo biloba, vitamin C, ginger, fish oil and cayenne pepper. Those types of treatments are normally paired with biofeedback assisted relaxation sessions, yoga, Epsom salt foot baths, acupuncture, support stockings and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

Other podiatrists may prefer to stick with manmade, over-the-counter or prescription medications. Examples include vasodilators, calcium channel and alpha blockers. However, because many elderly people take so many medications already, this is not always possible. Therefore, some podiatrists may work with the person’s other doctors and pharmacists to come up with compound medications that may help.

In addition, podiatric care for the elderly also tends to include routine tasks like nail trimming, callus removal and the aggressive treatment of fungal or bacteria generated infections. To learn more about them and the other treatments mentioned above, please reach out to one of our well respected podiatrists today.

Good Podiatric Care for Elderly Patients

Professional Foot Care for SeniorsIf you think about how many miles we put on our feet in a lifetime it is no wonder foot problems so often emerge as we age. It is helpful for everyone to have basic knowledge of podiatric care for elderly people.

Caregivers of older adults need to be mindful of good foot care and make it a priority as part of daily routine. Even seniors who are otherwise able to care for themselves often need some help in this area, just because of the difficulty of seeing and reaching their feet. Some simple care pays huge dividends as good podiatric care helps the elderly remain comfortable and mobile.

The basics for caregivers:

  • Caregivers need to be particularly attentive because even slight sensory losses over the years can make people less aware of problems with their own feet. When these problems are noticed as they emerge they are easily addressed. Knowing what to look for, and taking the time to check will help catch these problems early on.

  • Care is relatively simple. It starts with simple observation – be sure to check feet at every cleaning for any changes. Keep an eye out for circulatory problems, ingrown toenails, ulcers, fungal conditions, or other irregularities. Be especially mindful of podiatric conditions for diabetic people as these can progress rapidly and become serious if untreated.

  • Be sure to help keep the feet clean, dry, and warm. Clean with a mild soap, dry thoroughly and gently, and use lotion as needed to help skin remain healthy. Cut nails straight across, being careful not to curve back at the edges which would allow the nail to get under the skin.

Smart daily practices:

  • Once feet are clean and dry, encourage the use of clean cotton socks and properly fitted shoes. This will help prevent spurs, calluses, corns, and even fungal infections.

  • Maintaining good circulation in the feet and legs can be a special challenge, especially for diabetic patients. Keeping the feet elevated while sitting for any length of time is helpful, so make sure a footstool is available at each favorite seat. Also, discourage crossing the legs, which impedes circulation.

If you have any concerns or questions about foot care, please contact your Missouri podiatrist for sound advice.

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aging Population Needs Podiatry Services

Professional Foot Care for SeniorsThe Missouri podiatry industry is growing as an aging population and related factors fuel an increased need for foot care services. These are some future trends in podiatry along with resources that can help seniors take better care of their feet.

A recent article in InsuranceNewsNet.com describes continued growth in the podiatry industry due to demographic trends and increasing rates of diabetes and other conditions that require specialized foot care. Analysts found that 2012 revenue has grown 1.5% from 2011 and is expected to reach $4.7 billion for an annual total. Further increases are expected in 2014 as more people acquire health insurance as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed in 2010.

The practice of podiatry is also undergoing significant changes. As of now, most Missouri podiatrists are still solo practitioners, but they are increasingly joining larger group practices. This is expected to help manage rising costs and lead to more patients receiving care from podiatrists rather than their primary care provider for foot ailments.

If you’re a senior with sore feet, there are many surgical and non-surgical options to correct common problems and help you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. The National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, provides free information on preventive care and treatment. Their recommendations include wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly and getting your feet checked regularly. Talk with your foot doctor about tingling or numbness that could be signs of diabetes, or swelling that could indicate heart disease. Pain is often caused by treatable foot disorders and does not have to be accepted as a normal part of aging.

For more information on how to keep your feet comfortable and healthy as you grow older, contact our Missouri podiatry offices today.

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net