As we age, our feet undergo a number of changes that can lead to pain and discomfort. Whether it’s due to conditions like arthritis, reduced circulation, or the natural wear and tear of the joints and muscles, senior feet require special attention and care. Working to keep feet pain-free is essential for maintaining mobility, independence, and overall quality of life.
Following these 5 tips can prevent foot problems and help seniors enjoy healthy, pain-free feet for years to come.
1. Wear properly fitted shoes
One of the most important ways to stop senior foot pain in its tracks is to wear properly fitted shoes that provide good arch support and cushioning. Not only are shoes more comfortable when they fit well, properly fitting footwear can help prevent foot problems, improve balance and stability, and reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
Know Your Foot Size and Shape
It’s really important for seniors to make sure that your shoes fit properly, so that your feet are comfortable and pain-free. When you’re shopping for shoes, consider both your foot size and shape.
To measure your foot size, use a ruler or tape measure to measure the length of your foot from heel to toe, and use a sizing chart to find the right shoe size. You should also pay attention to your foot shape, including any special needs like high or low arches. Trace your foot on a piece of paper to determine your foot shape and look for any irregularities.
If you need help finding the best shoes for your feet, you can always consult with a podiatrist or shoe fitter for expert advice.
Consider Arch Support and Cushioning
When it comes to arch support, there are a few different types to consider. Some shoes come with built-in arch support, while others have removable insoles that can be replaced with custom orthotics for even more support. As for cushioning, there are also different types, from foam to gel to air-filled pockets.
When shopping for shoes, look for those with appropriate levels of support and cushioning for your specific needs. A good rule of thumb is to look for shoes with a wider base and a low, stable heel. You can also try shoes on and walk around in them to get a feel for the support and cushioning.
If you have specific foot conditions or concerns, you can always consult with your foot care nurse for personalized recommendations.
Look for a Comfortable Fit
It’s important to try shoes on and walk around in them before making a purchase. This way, you can get a feel for the fit, cushioning, and support.
When assessing shoe comfort, pay attention to the fit – the shoe should feel snug but not tight, with enough room for your toes to wiggle. Look for shoes with a wider toe box, as narrow ones can cause discomfort and pain.
Try to avoid high heels, as they can be unstable and put pressure on the balls of your feet. Materials are also important – look for breathable materials like leather or mesh that allow your feet to breathe and stay cool.
Finally, don’t be afraid to take your time when shopping for shoes. Try on different styles and brands, and take the time to walk around in each pair to find the perfect fit.
Choose the Right Style to keep senior feet pain-free
Choose the right style for your specific needs. If you’re looking for athletic shoes, you’ll want to choose a style with good cushioning and support, such as running shoes or walking shoes. For dress shoes, look for styles with a lower heel and a wider toe box to avoid discomfort.
When it comes to foot conditions, certain styles may be more appropriate than others. If you have bunions or hammertoes, for example, you’ll want to avoid shoes with narrow toe boxes. If you have plantar fasciitis or flat feet, look for shoes with good arch support.
Common shoe styles that are recommended for seniors include walking shoes, athletic shoes, slip-on shoes, and sandals with adjustable straps. It’s important to choose a style that fits well and feels comfortable for your specific needs, so don’t be afraid to try on different styles and ask for help from a sales person if you need it. After all, that’s what they’re there for.
Shop at the Right Time of Day
Did you know your foot size and shape can change throughout the day? That’s right – your feet can swell or become more swollen depending on factors like the time of day, weather, or activity level. That’s why it’s important to shop for shoes at the right time of day to ensure proper fit.
The best time to shop for shoes is usually in the late afternoon or evening, when your feet have had a chance to swell to their fullest size. When you try shoes on at this time of day, you’ll get a better sense of how they’ll fit throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to wear the type of socks or orthotics that you’ll be using with the shoes, so you can get an accurate fit.
And remember, always try shoes on and walk around in them before making a purchase. This way, you can make sure that the shoes are comfortable and provide adequate support, no matter what time of day you’re wearing them.
2. Maintain Good Foot Hygiene
Keeping your feet clean and dry can help prevent a number of foot problems. Fungal infections, blisters, and other issues can thrive when feet are not kept clean and dry.
To maintain good foot hygiene, it’s important to wash your feet daily with soap and warm water. Make sure to dry your feet thoroughly, paying special attention to the areas between your toes where moisture can become trapped. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, which thrive in moist environments.
If your feet tend to sweat excessively, consider using foot powder or changing your socks more frequently throughout the day. And always wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe and stay dry, such as those made of breathable materials like leather or mesh.
3. Walk and Stretch Regularly
Walking is the best thing you can do for your lower legs and feet. Stretching can also help improve flexibility, increase circulation, and reduce your risk of foot injuries. There are a few simple exercises that you can do at home to help keep your feet flexible and pain-free.
Toe raises are a great way to stretch the muscles in your feet and toes. Simply raise your toes up towards the ceiling and hold for a few seconds before releasing.
Ankle rotations are another effective exercise that can help improve flexibility in your ankle joint. Simply rotate your ankle in circles, both clockwise and counterclockwise, to get a good stretch.
Calf stretches are also helpful for foot health, as tight calf muscles can contribute to foot pain. To do a calf stretch, stand with your hands against a wall and step one foot back, keeping your heel on the ground. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your calf, and hold for a few seconds before releasing.
4. Use Orthotics
If you’re experiencing foot pain or discomfort, orthotic inserts can be a game-changer. These inserts can help correct foot problems and provide extra cushioning and support. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be made from materials like foam, gel, or plastic.
For more severe foot conditions, a podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics that are designed specifically for your feet. These custom orthotics can provide even more support and can help address more complex foot issues. Orthotics can be inserted into your existing shoes, making them a convenient and cost-effective option for foot pain relief.
If you’re considering orthotic inserts, it’s important to talk to your podiatrist to determine which type is best for your specific needs. They can help you find the right fit and provide guidance on how to use the inserts for maximum benefit.
5. Get Regular Foot Check-ups
And of course, regular attention from a foot care nurse can be a great way to stay foot-loose and fancy free. Our foot care nurses are specially trained to provide care for feet, and can help identify and treat a wide range of foot conditions.
Regular foot care maintenance can include everything from toenail trimming and callus removal to treatment for corns, blisters, and other foot problems. We also provide education and guidance on proper foot care, including helping you select the right shoes and keep your feet happy and dry.
It’s important to find a foot care nurse who is experienced and knowledgeable, and who you feel comfortable with. If you’re in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia and would like to know more about how a foot care nurse can help keep your feet happy, give us a call or send us a message! We’d love to hear from you.