Summer is right around the corner and you know what that means? More outside time, swimming, vacations, you name it! If you are planning on breaking your little piggies out of their cold weather shoe bunker this summer, don’t miss these 7 essential foot care tips:
Remember the Sunblock
Shoulders? Check. Face? Check. Legs and arms? Check. Feet? Whoops!
It’s easy to run through your sun protection routine before you head outside
and completely forget about your sandaled feet. When it comes to sunburn,
unfortunately, your feet aren’t immune.
If any part of your feet is exposed to harmful UV rays, you increase your risk for developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is emerging as an epidemic among the elderly, especially among white-skinned adults over the age of 65 who are the highest risk of developing it. Make sure to lather the sunblock on your feet and keep them safe!
Watch Out for Public Pools
Are you planning on visiting a public pool this summer to swim or
take a water aerobics class? While exercising is awesome, contracting athlete’s
foot is not. This super common fungal infection attacks the feet and toes
leading to a scaly rash that itches, burns, and stings.
One way to pick up athlete’s foot is walking barefoot in a public area like the changing room or bathrooms at the pool. Save yourself from athlete’s foot by simply wearing shoes in these types of public environments (and at the beach too!).
Wash and Dry Daily
The warm summer sun might make it easier to get out and about
during the day, but it will also cause you to sweat more when you do. With
roughly 125,000 sweat glands in each foot, chances are your feet will do their
share of sweating, no matter what kind of shoe you wear.
Make sure that you prevent unwanted bacteria and fungal buildup on your feet by washing and thoroughly drying them daily before bed. In the same vein, if you wear an orthotic aid like a night splint or arch support, make sure that you are routinely cleaning it per its directions to keep it from absorbing sweat and becoming smelly.
Prevent Sores from Developing
Seemingly harmless, a foot sore can actually be exceedingly
dangerous for older adults, especially those with mobility problems,
circulation issues, or diabetes. If your body is unable to
circulate adequate blood flow to your feet, foot sores may have a hard time healing
and become more susceptible to infection.
If you love wearing sandals in the summer but tend to get your feet scratched, bumped, or scraped, preventing sores from becoming infected is critical. Monitor your feet for any injuries or skin problems, and see your doctor if you notice an open sore.
Take Care with Your Toenails
Are you looking to give your toenails a makeover before you start
wearing sandals this summer? Don’t forget, as you age your nails naturally
become more brittle and your skin thinner and less elastic. You want to be
careful when you trim your nails to not accidentally clip any bits of skin as
well as to cut the nail straight across (not curved in at the edges or you
could end up with an ingrown toenail).
Be careful when removing dead skin or buffing out calluses that you don’t over-exfoliate too and irritate the skin. When in doubt, find out if there are professional senior nail care services available in your area.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
It may sound antithetical that if you suffer from swollen feet
that you should drink more fluids, but the truth is, staying hydrated helps
trigger your body to release fluids it is storing in tissues. As adults age,
their sense of thirst can diminish and they may avoid drinking water because of
It is so important to keep up with hydration, however, to avoid serious medical complications, especially in the hot summer heat. You can consume fluids in other ways too like eating lots of water-rich fruits, veggies, and smoothies.
Lounging on the beach for hours or taking long car trips on
vacation may sound like your version of summer fun, but it is so important to
keep moving your legs and feet. Because they are the furthest from your heart,
your feet have to work extra hard (against gravity) to circulate blood back up
Give them an assist by keeping your legs and feet moving, even if it’s with simple stretches, ankle rolls, toe wiggles, or flexing and pointing your feet. Avoid sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time without getting up to move, and enjoy daily walks outside to keep your strength, balance, and coordination sharp.