I thought I would “kick off” this blog with a post encouraging elders, their adult children, and caregivers to take a long, close look at their own, or their family member’s, or client’s feet, for 5 common signs of foot trouble.
Some elders are resistant to having anyone (especially a family member) see their feet and regard this as an intrusion into their privacy or an insinuation that they cannot care for their own feet.
Be tactful, patient, gentle, and compassionate. Use a little humor. Use yourself as an example. After all, most of us over 50 have found that our feet have gotten farther away over time and are more difficult for us to care for by ourselves.
Get yourself a hand mirror (so you don’t have to stand on your head to see their soles).
What to look for:
- Open wounds, with oozing or draining fluid (blood, pus)
- Unusual reddened areas (use gentle finger pressure to see if the area is tender)
- Unusual swollen areas (use gentle finger pressure to see if area seems to be fluid-filled)
- Areas that are warmer to the touch (as well as being red and swollen) than surrounding areas
- Areas under the skin that are yellow/brown/green which could be pockets of infection (usually tender to gentle pressure)
Pain, of course, could be found with any of the above situations, and is, by itself, reason for further exploration.
So, any one of the 5 (or any combination of the 5, plus pain) are cause for concern and need to be seen by a primary healthcare provider: MD, Nurse Practitioner, Physician’s Assistant, Naturopath or Podiatrist to diagnose, rule out and/or treat possible infection immediately.
Once the infection issue has been treated, it is time to consider the possible causes and what proactive steps can be taken to prevent further incidents.