Taking care of your feet


Regular quality foot and leg care can reduce discomfort and enable clients to become more mobile again.

Proper foot care for the elderly doesn’t have to be complicated, but it will require a bit of attention. Using these simple steps should make the process less complicated. And above all, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. 

If you haven’t thought to check your clients feet and nails, today is the best day to start!

Washing Feet.

Keep feet clean by washing them every day in warm soapy water, but don't soak them, as this might destroy the skin's natural oils.
Take a wash cloth or gauze pad, wet with warm soapy water, and run it between the toes. Swelling and joint contractures of the toes causes dry skin and debris to get trapped between the toes. Cleaning this out can reduce the risk of maceration or break down of the skin in the toe spaces and will increase comfort. 
After that special attention you’ve given by cleaning between the toes, be sure to dry between them too. The same swelling and stiffness that traps the debris, also traps the moisture. Over time, athlete’s foot and other infections can set in. Keeping it dry between the toes will decrease that likelihood.

Foot spas/baths can help tense muscles in the feet relax. A foot bath also soothes dry skin and painful bunions. Regular foot baths can prevent some foot disorders because many of them occur due to muscle tension.

Applying Foot Cream.

Obviously, lotion can be used to moisturise the skin of the feet. CAREGivers can use the moisturiser on the top and bottom of the feet; however, keep in mind that moisturiser should not be used between the toes.
You can use lotion, cocoa butter, oil, lanolin, or creams made especially for the feet. A foot massage increases blood flow and helps a person relax. Tender, tight, or cramped areas of the feet may feel better after a massage.

How to massage the foot:


1- Put a small amount of warm lotion or oil in your hand. Smooth the lotion or oil over the foot.

2- Firmly hold the foot with both hands. Rub the top of the foot using a firm motion with your thumbs. Start at the tip of each toe and move slowly all the way up to the ankle. Move back towards the toes and rub with a lighter stroke. This step can be repeated 2 or more times.

3- Continue to hold the foot with both hands and move your thumbs to the bottom of the foot. Rub the bottom of the foot. Start at the tip of each toe and move your thumbs firmly towards the heel. Go back in the direction of the toes and rub the bottom of the foot with your thumbs. This step can be repeated 2 or more times.

4- Repeat the above steps on the other foot.

Massage the toes by pulling:


1- Hold the foot with one hand and grasp it under the arch.

2- With your other hand, hold the big toe with your thumb on top and your index finger underneath.

3- Slightly turn and pull the toe until you reach the end of the toe. Slide your thumb and index finger back to the base of the toe. Do this to each toe.

4- Repeat the above steps on the other foot.

Massage the toes by sliding:


1- Hold the foot with one hand and cradle it behind the heel.

2- Put in the index finger of your other hand between the toes.

3- Move your finger towards the base of the toes and back toward the end of the toes. Repeat this move two or three times between all toes.

4- Repeat the above steps on the other foot.


Nail Care


Keeping toenails cut and under control is key as nails that become too long can press against the end of the shoe and the constant pressure can cause soreness, infection and ulceration. Toenails that have been poorly cut may also become ingrown and need professional attention.
Trim toenails regularly using proper nail clippers not scissors. Cut straight across, never at an angle or down the edges. This can cause ingrown toenails.

Corns


If you have diabetes, heart disease or problems with your circulation, do not try to treat corns and calluses yourself. 
These conditions can make foot problems more serious - See a GP or foot specialist.

Do:

Wear thick, cushioned socks

Wear wide, comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole that do not rub

Use soft insoles or heel pads in your shoes

Soak corns and calluses in warm water to soften them

Regularly use a pumice stone or foot file to remove hard skin

Moisturise to help keep skin soft

Don’t:

Do not try to cut off corns or calluses yourself

Do not walk long distances or stand for long periods

Do not wear high heels or tight pointy shoes

Do not go barefoot


Circulation & Exercises


Stretching feet on a daily basis is extremely important. Since a foot spa treatment loosens tense muscles, a great time to have a stretch is directly following a foot spa/bath treatment. Stretching also reduces muscle tension and addresses knot formations before these knots actually become painful. Why not try moving your ankles and wiggling your toes before you get out of bed?

Keep the blood flowing! When feet get tired, sit down and put them up for a while. Wiggle your toes and ankles for a few minutes, two or three times every day. Don't cross your legs for long periods, this can also cause varicose veins.

Click here
to see some different foot exercises are are simple to do. 

Try lifting various small items such as tissues, coins, marbles etc. using your toes! When did you last walk on your tiptoes or on the back of your heels? 👣



Keeping Feet Warm


Keeping warm is also important, but do not warm them too close to the fire!  Warm stockings or socks can help, but avoid anything too tight which can restrict circulation or cramp in toes.  Wearing fleece-lined boots or shoes or even an extra pair of socks will also keep you warm but do make sure your shoes aren’t tight as a result. Socks should be seamless and not too tight: A binding top can inhibit blood flow to the feet. Those who have poor circulation in their feet are more likely to unknowingly sustain an injury, which can lead to an infection and if not properly cared for.

Avoid wearing 100 percent cotton socks as this material does not wick moisture away; however, an acrylic blend sock will. Also avoid the use of hot water bottles. Bed socks are also a good idea if you experience really cold feet during the night - there is research that shows that if feet are warm people sleep better.
Wearing moisture wicking socks and closed toe shoes can protect a patient’s foot from injury. 

People with poor circulation need to be aware that heating pads and hot water bottles can cause burns on their feet. Let them know that if their feet are cold they need to wear seamless socks to bed.

Thin Skin


It is not possible to reverse thinning of the skin. However, moisturizing the skin can make it more flexible and less likely to break. Anything that makes the skin red or sore is likely to be damaging it. A person with thin skin might need to protect it from damage. For example, they should avoid contact with harsh chemicals.

A person with thin skin may find their skin bruises or damages more easily. Vitamin E, found in foods such as almonds and avocados, can also support skin health. The fats in these foods may help to keep the skin supple. Drinking enough water helps to keep the skin hydrated. Dry skin can be irritated or damaged more easily and is often less flexible.



Did you know?
Three out of four people who are older than 65 wear shoes that are too small. Shop for shoes in the afternoon as your feet swell as the day goes on and if shoes fit in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest, you can be assured they'll always be comfortable!

Have you got any hints or tips you would like to see added above? Contact Olivia via email - [email protected]


Sources:
https://cop.org.uk/foot-health/keep-on-walking/older-persons-guide-to-good-foot-health/
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/tips-on-foot-care/
https://www.relias.com/blog/regular-foot-care-for-seniors-more-important-than-you-think
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/corns-and-calluses/
https://www.drugs.com/cg/how-to-give-a-foot-massage.html
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321757#treatment

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