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Taking steps to improve your foot health

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Foot problemsfeetcornsblistersfoot infectionsingrowing toenailsArthritis

Take steps to look after your feet

LATER in life you become more prone to foot problems like corns, blisters and foot infections. The reason – the skin becomes thinner and less elastic. But painful or uncomfortable feet aren’t a natural part of ageing, and can be alleviated.

Foot care problems tend to happen if you’re less mobile than you used to be, particularly if you have difficulty bending down. 

Poor eyesight, can also make it harder for you to look after your feet.

Adopt a regular foot routine. This includes:

  • cutting and filing toenails and keeping them at a comfortable length
  • smoothing and moisturising dry and rough skin
  • checking for cracks and breaks in the skin and inflammation such as blisters
  • looking for signs of infection like nail fungus or other obvious early problems, and seeking professional advice
  • wearing suitable socks and footwear

COMMON FOOT PROBLEMS

Plantar fasciitis

One of the most common foot complaints for the over-60s is plantar fasciitis. It is the result of damage to the tough band of tissue (fascia) that runs under the sole of the foot, which causes pain in the heel. 

The pain tends to develop gradually over time and is at its worst when you wake up in the morning and at the end of the day.

Resting your heel, regular stretching, applying ice packs, taking painkillers and wearing well-fitted, supportive shoes can often help relieve the pain. 

Ingrowing toenails

Ingrowing toenails occur when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin.

The toenail pierces the skin, which can become red, swollen and tender. It can also be painful if pressure is placed on the toe or the toe becomes infected.

Arthritis

In older people, repeated episodes of foot pain and stiffness can indicate a sudden worsening of osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. This long-term condition caused by wear and tear results in swelling of the tissues in and around the joints, including the big toe and heel joints.