How we look afer our feet as we grow older makes a big difference to our overall health.

After your feet have carried you millions of kilometres during your life, they can eventually wear down.

But there are ways to keep your feet healthy as you age — through proper maintenance, care and regular check ups.

What happens to feet as they age?

As you age, you can lose cushioning and soft tissue fat in the pads of your heels and the balls of your feet, near your toes. Like the skin on your face, you lose some elasticity in the skin on your feet, making it thin and vulnerable.

Bone deformities — such as bunions or arthritis —and difficulties in basic foot care, can lead to foot health issues and sometimes an increased risk of falls. We all know that falls can have drastic consequences.

Your nails also become more brittle, thicker and harder, making them difficult to trim. These thicker nails can also make you more prone to ingrown toenails, fungal breakouts and other infections.

Can foot problems be improved?

For older people, most foot problems can be improved by regular maintenance and care, keeping your weight down, wearing well-fitting shoes and using cushioned inserts.

Maintaining your nails and any dry skin on your feet can become a problem for older people. You may have poor eyesight, or you may not be able to bend down and twist your feet around to file away dead skin. If you're having trouble maintaining your feet, you can ask a family member for help, or book in with a podiatrist.

If you can cut your toenails yourself, make sure you trim them just past your nail bed, using a strong pair of nail clippers. After clipping, smooth the nails with a file or emery board, using downward strokes.

Be aware that the bones in your feet change with age, so when you get older you may need to regularly check that your shoes still fit.

Taking good care of your feet as you age is good for your foot health. It helps you stay active and mobile.

When should you see a podiatrist?

Your feet are mirrors of your health. Warning signs that you can look out for include:

  • dry skin
  • brittle nails
  • burning and tingling sensations in your feet
  • feelings of cold and numbness, and 
  • discolouration of your feet.

If you see any of these signs, book in with your podiatrist. They see these issues every day, so they're the best people to treat your feet.



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