Personal footcare is important for everyone, but particularly for older people as good foot health can reduce pain or discomfort, improve confidence, quality of life and independence. Healthy feet can also help people to remain physically active, allowing them to get out and about in their local community and increase their energy levels and general zest for life. Importantly, neglecting personal foot care needs can contribute to falls, which might otherwise be avoided.
Here are my 7 TOP TIPS for keeping your feet working well.
- Walking is free, easy, and good for your feet, legs, hips, bones, circulation, digestion and peace of mind. Please keep walking, if you stop walking it is very difficult to restart the process. If the weather is bad how about walking round a large super market or shopping centre.
- Wear appropriate shoes, that is a shoe with a lace, Velcro or buckle, dancing shoes for dancing and wellies for mucking out the byre. Trainers don’t look glamorous but a good fitting pair of trainers is excellent for walking to the shops or round the park. They have slip resistant soles and support your feet.
- Try to go for a walk every day (twice a day would be even better), your feet need to exercise, and a gentle stroll will do the trick. There is no need to do half marathons or run up hills, just gentle regular walks every day. You could even borrow the neighbour’s dog for the added incentive to go for a walk!.
- You don’t have to do the same walk every day but please remember to keep safe.
- If you are supporting a person with living with dementia, it is ok to take them in the bus or car then to walk. Some people like familiar walks so don’t feel the need to make the walk exciting.
- Walking in a circular route is more pleasant than straight there and back. Please don’t over tire yourself or you won’t want to walk again tomorrow.
- Pamper your feet, after washing rub in some moisturising cream, give your nails a file. If you have a foot problem such as corns, callous or persistent foot pain arrange an appointment with a Podiatrist who is HCPC registered therapist.
NHS Inform in their advice on “How to look after your feet” offers some questions on where you can start. http://www.nhsinform.co.uk/falls/keepingwell/feet/
Think about how you currently look after your feet:
- What positive things do you already do to keep your feet healthy?
- What changes can you make that might help?
- How will you make these changes?
Who do you need to talk to?
To find out more about podiatry come along to the Alzheimer Scotland Annual conference on the 3rd June and have a blether with me at the AHP stand in the exhibition centre. We are on stand 26 and we are called
“Allied Health Professionals – who are they & how they can help you”
I will also be at stand 28 doing a ten minute “soap box session” on “Forget your feet – forgotten feet”. I look forward to connecting with you on this blog site or on the 3rd June.
To contact a podiatrist locally, people in many areas of Scotland can refer themselves for NHS podiatry, but in some parts you still need to be referred by a GP or health care professional. Contact your local NHS podiatry service for details. The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists can also help you get in touch with a private podiatry service by emailing using the enquiry form on the website www.feetforlife.org
Personal foot care guidance 2013 The overall aim of the personal footcare guidance is to improve the way in which personal footcare is supported and delivered through the implementation of good practice guidance. http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0043/00433259.pdf
The supporting educational resources are also available at http://www.knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/home/portals-and-topics/personal-footcare.aspx
Dorothy Hathaway, Podiatrist NHS Fife
Dorothy qualified from Glasgow Foot School many moons ago. After working in London for 10 years she returned to Fife and continued to work in general Podiatry. For the last 20 years Dorothy has worked across the Learning Disability service and Care Home services.