Feet don’t get a lot of respect! They carry us around all day and they’re often crammed into less than comfortable shoes and socks. They get banged up when residents of Cedar Rapids and elsewhere walk around without protection for them. They get warm, they get cold, they get dry, they get sweaty. If someone is receiving palliative care, their feet may have other problems related to their medical conditions.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice understands the value of our feet, and at the same time, knows that it’s easy to take them for granted and not treat them well.
Treating them well can have all sorts of good benefits since their job is to support your body and get you where you want to go.
But if your feet aren’t working well, you could experience pain, lack of coordination, poor balance, and more. Muscles and joints may have also shrunk if they haven’t had a lot of use, making it even more of a challenge to get people off the couch and get active.
It’s a perfect time to do so too: this month includes I Love My Feet Day, a celebration on Aug. 17 promoting the value of the feet and encouraging others to be proud of theirs. Organizers also include suggestions for ways to reduce harm to your feet and encourage others to try to improve theirs.
There aren’t a lot of details about this holiday, other than it was first commemorated in 2015.
For those interested in better care of your feet try some of the following strategies.
- Get better shoes. One study showed that more than 70 percent of people have some kind of foot problem, which can often be improved by better footwear. According to the National Institutes of Health’s U.S. Library of Medicine, between 63 and 72 percent of those who took part said they wear uncomfortable shoes that due to length or width problems. Poorly fitting footwear is also connected to foot disorders and foot pain.
- Clean them regularly. Even if you’re wearing shoes and socks most of the time, your feet can still be affected by routine wear and tear. WebMD suggests this is an important step for the longevity of your feet. Experts suggest cleaning them in warm water but avoid putting them fully in water since this can cause dryness. Too much dryness can cause cracking and pain. Antibacterial soap is also recommended to reduce infection.
- Inspect them daily. This goes beyond washing them regularly which is important. But daily inspections are an especially important idea. This can give you ideas of cuts, bruises, dry spots, sores, fungi/bacteria, and more.
- Keep them moisturized. Wet feet aren’t that great for your feet since this can cause damage to your skin and increase the risk of infection. But moisturized feet are actually a great thing, so look for a favorite cream, lotion, or even petroleum jelly and rub it in on daily. Moisture-wicking socks can help
- Have a variety of shoes at hand. Wearing the same shoe day and night can be bad for your shoes and for your feet, especially if they never fit that great in the first place. Instead, try to vary different types of shoes to give your feet a break. Maybe something designed for running, walking, or exercising, or dress shoes or work shoes can all offer a different experience.
- Avoid shoes that aren’t helpful for your feet. This can include flip-flops or flats, which don’t really have much arch or support. In the case of athletic pairs that are regularly worn, experts recommend rotating the different pairs and then letting them dry out for at least 24 hours.
- Visit a professional. Your primary health care provider should know the basics of healthy feet in a routine visit, and still be able to spot and identify certain conditions such as corns or warts. He or she also might refer to a local podiatrist, who can answer more qualified questions or give suggestions for optimal foot care. This can include authorizing orthotics or inserts that might help reduce pain and make shoe wearing more expensive.
Foot care for seniors
Every age group can benefit from good foot care since we all use our feet. But seniors may need more or different care.
A U.S. News and World article in 2019 suggested that seniors are especially vulnerable members of the population. Their skin often stays dry longer. They also may experience more pain and weak areas.
They also might experience more bone spurs, corns, or callouses and painful growths as their bodies change. Plus, seniors heal slower than younger people and are also slower to heal from an infection. They also may experience pain from past injuries.
Other health conditions could impact foot performance as well. For instance, someone who is diabetic needs to be extra careful about their feet health.