After a lifetime of walking on feet that are bound in ill- fitting shoes, several potential problems develop. Much can be done to avoid the difficulties that occur with the aging foot. Careful treatment and thoughtful selection of footwear can slow or arrest these changes. It is also possible to adapt to changes that are irreversible with proper footwear. This occasionally requires the use of prescription footwear.
Foot problems may also plague sufferers of several diseases that are common in elderly patients. Diabetes, arthritis, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease, particularly with heart failure, all may cause foot problems.
When foot problems are complicated, a referral to a dermatologist, orthopedist, rheumatologist, neurologist, or podiatrist may be necessary.
Important Points in Treatment
Corns and calluses form where pressure from a shoe causes thickening of the skin. Careful selection and fitting of footwear that avoids pressure points should be made. Where established deformities cause pressure, foam or felt pads can redistribute the pressure and avoid the formation of corns and calluses. Your physician can pare thickened areas of skin. He or she can also prescribe footwear or appliances so that further trauma to these pressure points can be avoided.
Skin and nail problems may be due to dry skin or to fungus infection. Moisturizing creams that can soften and hydrate dry skin can help prevent further drying. If infections with skin fungus have occurred, medication may be needed. Chronic fungus infection, although unlikely to respond to simple athlete’s foot therapy, can respond to some new prescription therapies. This is particularly true of infections that involve the toenails. The advice of a dermatologist is sometimes needed.
Notify Our Office If ...
- You have the beginning of a horny or thickened area of skin over a bony prominence of your foot.