While foot problems are certainly prevalent in every age group in society, there is one group of people that is at an especially high risk for foot issues: the elderly. Making foot health is of the utmost importance, mobility is crucial to independence later in life. According to the APMA, “The human foot has been called the “mirror of health.” Foot doctors, or doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs), are often the first doctors to see signs of such systemic conditions as diabetes, arthritis, and circulatory disease in the foot.
Dry skin, brittle nails, burning & tingling sensations, feelings of cold, numbness, & discoloration are common signs here. So it is especially important for elderly people to take active role in maintaining healthy feet.
This is the reason why foot pillow heel protectors are readily available in the market these days.
As you might suspect, years and years of normal wear and tear on the feet can eventually take their toll.
Neuropathy (Circulation problems)
Neuropathy referrers to nervous system damage resulting in loss of feeling in the feet. Since patients suffering from neuropathy can’t feel pain or discomfort, they sometimes fail to notice the severity of injuries or irritations on the feet. Also, poor circulation makes the healing process more difficult. While there is no cure for neuropathy, per se, getting regular foot checkups from a doctor is key in order to restore health to the foot and prevent further complications.
Those Neuropathy sufferers need shoes that have a wide toe box, ample cushioning for the balls of the feet and proper heel support. Shoes that accommodate swelling and have room for custom inserts are ideal as well as heel protectors.
The Loss of fatty pad under the ball of feet: Elderly people often experience a loss of the fatty pad under the ball of the feet, making them much more susceptible to pain in that area. This condition, known as metatarsalgia typically has a gradual onset as it is the result of micro trauma and takes a while to add up into an injury. This pain is often a dull ache, much like a bruise.
Elderly people, should look for shoes with a high, wide toe box and that offer some forefront cushioning or anyone suffering from pain the ball of the foot region. Those suffering from metatarsal would also be great candidates for rocker sole shoes, since they reduce stress of the ball of the foot. For metatarsal by helping to transfer the weight off of the ball of the foot, over-the-counter arch supports can work wonders. Also, there are forefoot pads that can be added directly to the arch support that can provide more relief. If those methods do not provide enough relief, it may be necessary to look into custom orthopedics to correct a bio mechanical problem of the foot.
Corns & Calluses
Corns and calluses are painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas of pressure. While they are a common complaint of elderly people, they are also found among the general population, especially among high heel wearers. On the soles of the feet, at the heels or the balls, calluses tend to form. Corns are smaller and have a hard center. They tend to be found on the tops and sides of the toes, and other areas that do not bear weight. They are typically very painful to the touch. Corns and calluses can cause discomfort, but they can often be treated by just identifying the source of the friction and eliminating it. You need to wear shoes that give the toes plenty of wiggle room for anyone with calluses or corns. And it is a good idea to have shoes stretched if there are any spots that rub or pinch the feet. Heel protectors for elderly would be making the best choice with these. If there is an underlying foot deformity causing the corns and calluses, your doctor may prescribe custom orthopedics to wear inside your shoes.