August 21st is Senior Citizens day. After a certain age it seems there aren’t many milestones to hit before we start getting the senior citizen discount, but being a senior citizen can come with serious foot complications. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 seniors deal with foot problems needing medical treatment. Here’s a look at the most common foot ailments for those over 65 and some tips on how to keep your feet healthy before you reach that important milestone.
As we know (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while), a bunion is a bony growth at the base of the big toe. Bunions are in actuality, a misalignment of the big toe joint, which means they will form very slowly over time from constant pressure. Of course, as senior citizens they have had plenty of time for these to develop. The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but can stem from trauma to the foot, genetic predisposition, or arthritis. Some bunions may have no symptoms whatsoever, but usually patients will experience tenderness, redness, and of course pain. Bunions tend to affect women more than men since tight high heels that squeeze the toes together are thought to contribute to bunion formation and symptoms. For seniors, bunions can represent a big problem, as they can either be a side effect of arthritis or even lead to chronic arthritic pain in the bunion. Some of the best ways to avoid bunion complications in later life are to make sure you are wearing proper footwear that gives your toes space, take care of existing bunions now before you develop pain, and take extra special care if you have genetic inclinations for foot deformities or arthritis. With proper care now, you can avoid bunions as a senior.
As we age, our aches and pains become more noticeable and many seniors have trouble reaching their feet. This can mean all sorts of things for your toenails. If you can’t see or never look at your feet you may miss all sorts of things such as fungal nails, ingrown toenails, and diabetic sores. Make sure you are washing your feet with soap; scrubbing lightly with pumice stone when necessary, and keep your toenails neatly trimmed. If you have trouble doing this yourself, don’t hesitate to visit our PediCare salon. It isn’t your standard pedicure; performed by certified medical nail technicians, this goes way beyond beauty. Basic service includes the One Half-hour PediCare: A no-frills service that includes toenail trimming, callus and corn reduction and the post-service application of moisturizer – $35. Take care of yourself now to maintain the healthy feet you need to carry you into your senior citizenship smoothly.
Arthritis and Diabetes
Sometimes old age can bring along some serious complications like diabetes and arthritis. Both of these diseases need medical attention as they have serious complications for you feet. Arthritis occurs from gradual wear and tear on the foot over a long time. In fact, out of all the age groups surveyed, the 65 and older crowd came in first with nearly 50% of participants reporting doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Pain, stiffness, and progressive foot deformities can be signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Diabetes progresses differently. Instead of your feet erupting in pain, you may slowly lose all feeling and have trouble distinguishing hot and cold or even be numb to painful wounds. Not only does diabetes cause loss of feeling, leaving foot ailments unnoticed, but it also cuts off full oxygen supply in the peripheral nerves making existing wounds slow to heal. Easy ways to combat these wounds is to manage diabetes through a plan with your primary care physician. Make seeing a podiatrist part of that plan. Check your feet, wash them well, use non-impact exercise, and fight existing foot ailments immediately.
The best way to ensure you remain, dancing, running, swimming, or even just lounging your way into old age is to take care of your feet early. We are taught to have annual checkups from a family physician, optometrist, and dentist. Why would you not add podiatrist to that list considering your feet are the foundation to a healthy life? Don’t wait until you start getting the senior citizen discount to think about your feet. Your feet will thank you.