“I go out walking after midnight
Out in the moonlight, just like we used to do
I’m always walking after midnight…”
Okay, so maybe you’re not humming along with Patsy Cline at midnight anymore. But we all know that a walk can contribute to a healthy mind and a healthy body. However, you also know that moving becomes exponentially more difficult if you’ve ever struggled with foot pain. Your feet can act as a bellwether of your overall health and as an essential component to maintaining a healthy body and mind. As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to check your foot health and get outside!
In the United States, adults average 5,117 steps per day with their feet and ankle joints taking the brunt of ground impact, body weight, and balance strain. As we age, additional factors can impact foot health and one’s ability to participate in their favorite daily movement activities. One major factor that older adults deal with is diabetes and its downstream impact on the feet.
Consulting your doctor to develop reasonable and attainable goals for diabetes control is essential for long-term success in managing the blood sugar fluctuations of diabetes. This plan will also help prevent or minimize some of the other health impacts of the disease, like vision loss, increased risk of wounds and infections, and nerve damage (neuropathy). Nerve damage can occur anywhere in the body. However it usually develops in the legs and feet, causing a reduction or even complete loss of sensation.
Ten Ways to Improve Foot Health
But don’t be discouraged! There are many ways you can directly care for your feet to prevent pain and injuries and keep yourself active and engaged with life.
1. Inspect your feet daily for dry skin, cracking, and peeling
Watch for redness, corns, blisters, calluses, sores, or any changes to the nails. Don’t forget to check the underside of your feet, between your toes, and your heels! A mirror can be helpful if you find that reduced flexibility hampers your ability to see those hard-to-reach spots.
2. See a Podiatrist
A thorough annual foot inspection will help catch infections, neuropathy, and circulatory problems.
3. Wear Well-Fitting Shoes
Take the time to have your shoes fitted properly to your feet. Not only can this help prevent falls, but properly fitted shoes reduce the risk of blisters and bunions forming. Feet flatten with age, and you may need a different size or different support options (arch support, wider toe bed) over the years.
4. Always Wear Shoes Outside the Home
Wearing shoes in public places reduces the risk of cuts and scrapes. These injuries can easily become infected when reduced circulation and awareness of pain signals (neuropathy) has occurred.
5. Dry Your Feet After Bathing
This prevents fungal growth. Don’t forget to apply a good moisturizer!
. Keep Your Toenails Properly Trimmed
Men and women both benefit from regular pedicure care. Properly cared for toenails can prevent fungal infection, ingrown toenail pain, bruised toenail beds, and even toenail loss.
7. Don’t Ignore Foot Pain
Because your foot bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles absorb daily stress, pain is your signal to visit a doctor before permanent damage sets in. The sooner you are treated, the better outcome you may have.
8. Mind Your Diet
Foot health may seem divorced from what’s in your diet, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many foods can help manage swelling, which helps maintain proper shoe fit, a healthy gait, and reduces injury risk. Salads, raw vegetables, and fruits such as watermelon and grapes can help move fluid through your body without it pooling and swelling in your extremities.
9. Get Plenty of Exercise
Choose an activity that moves your body but reduces the strain on your joints and feet. Examples include biking, swimming, or water aerobics.
10. Build Better Habits
The more you care for your feet, the easier it is to maintain your daily movement habits. And the more regular your daily movement, the healthier your feet will be. It’s a positive circle of reinforcement!
Tackling foot pain and foot health can seem overwhelming at first but don’t feel like you must make ten changes all at once. Small changes over time can lead to big health impacts! Talk with a friend or your caregiver about setting a goal, planning a walk together, or implementing help with foot checks. Picking one of two suggestions with the help of someone supportive is a great way to start building your daily and weekly habits. A summertime slice of watermelon and newly fitted shoes just might get you exploring in ways you haven’t done in years!
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.