Before talking about the concrete care of the feet in the elderly it is important to understand that throughout life we will take on average enough steps to go four times around the world walking. And that in each step we take we put twice our weight. This means that throughout our lives, the feet have borne thousands of tons of cargo.
One of the main effects is the loss of adipose tissue in the sole of the foot (which is a tissue that acts as a natural buffer). This layer of tissue deteriorates and loses part of its function. We must also understand that the foot is a very articulated structure. We have 28 bones that are joined by 33 joints and more than 100 tendons. Chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis (which mainly affects joints) also have an important effect on the foot.
It is strictly important to have special attention with the feet of elderly people who have diabetes (what is known as diabetic foot). In this type of foot, our professionals in podiatry and biomechanics encounter two problems: on the one hand the deficit of blood supply (which makes it difficult to heal any wound) and on the other hand the deficit of sensitivity (which increases the risk of being able to generate an ulcer by not noticing for example the fact of carrying a pebble in the shoe).
Bear in mind that here at Happy Feet Pedorthics we can help you find the best option for you, we’ll assist you in the selection of shoes for your daily routine.
Pedicure as a must-have service for footcare
It refers to the treatment of calluses, hardness, incarnated nails (nails that are stuck in the sides of the fingers), fungi, etc.
An older person should go periodically to the podiatrist to ensure that the condition of their feet is always in good hands. We must understand that small lesions (such as callus) can become major problems (such as an ulcer) if they are not treated in time. We totally contraindicate the use of callicides in the elderly. They are very powerful acids that are designed to eliminate callus. In many cases what they produce is a second-degree burn on the healthy skin around the callus. This burn can be complicated (especially in patients with circulation problems).
A good advice to keep the skin of the foot in good condition is to moisturise it daily with a cream specifically designed for the feet. The ideal is to moisturise the foot at night since if we do it in the morning the foot can sweat inside the shoe and the mixture of sweat and cream can produce maceration of the skin.
Biomechanical studies and personalised templates.
Many older patients think that a personalised template is for an athlete or for a child and it really is not like that. A properly indicated and designed template can greatly improve the quality of a larger patient as it will compensate for the loss of adipose tissue, will give greater stability to the gait and will generate a correct distribution of pressures in the sole of the foot avoiding pressure points that generate calluses or other problems.
We have to understand that the foot is the only thing that we support against the ground. If this support does not occur correctly, it can negatively affect other structures such as the knee, hip or spine. Many knee pathologies improve positively when the way of stepping is improved. That is why it is very important that before performing any template it is necessary to perform a correct biomechanical study of the march and this study must be done by an expert in podiatry and biomechanics.
It is important to know that a personalised template can only be prescribed by a doctor or by a podiatrist. Most podiatry clinics now have systems for gait analysis. If you decide to go to an orthopaedic, it’s important to understand that you have to go with a recipe made by a specialist (orthopaedist, doctor or podiatrist) and the orthopaedic technician who will attend us has no qualification or technical or legal to prescribe the personalised template we need.
A template that is correctly set can improve the quality of life but in the same way, a template that is not properly designed can generate an injury.
Indicated to surgically solve those pathologies that cannot be solved by conservative treatments.
One of the most frequent surgeries is the Bunion. Currently foot surgery has advanced a lot and great results are achieved, but we must always understand it as the last solution. In the case of the Bunions, in many cases you can control the progress and pain through a correct personalised template. Surgery is only recommended in those patients with major deformities that complicate the fact of wearing a normal shoe or their usual physical activity.
One of the pathologies that very often are solved by chiropractic surgery are incarnated nails. Through a 30-minute surgery and local anaesthesia (in a completely painless way) a problem that generates a lot of discomfort for the patient is definitively solved since in many cases this type of nails is still nailed periodically until the surgical treatment is performed. It is not about “tearing off” the nail, which is what was done in the past, but about removing only the piece of nail that is stuck, leaving it a little narrower but with a totally normal aesthetic.
Other pathologies susceptible to podiatric surgery are claw toes, exostosis, etc.
Podoactive Advice: If aging has an effect on our entire organism, on the feet, due to that great load supported, it also has it. Therefore, it is essential to periodically check and care for the feet at advanced ages.
Remember that you must wear a great pair of shoes because in addition to the protection they offer, they are able to give greater mobility to people who need to walk long distances or step onto grounds with too many stones and peaks that can hurt their feet. Here at Happy Feet Pedorthics you can get personalised shoes at an affordable price.