As our parents age, we are concerned with health problems such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, eye care and dental care. We tend to forget about the importance of foot care. Maintaining one’s feet may not seem important, but it is an integral part of overall health. Certain symptoms of the foot may indicate serious underlying conditions which may affect a person’s mobility and quality of life.

“Some seniors have difficulty caring for their own feet due to inflexibility as their joints are stiffer, so it is more difficult for them to clean between toes,” says Dr. Alexandra Zorbas, a podiatrist from Laval. “Their skin can crack which can cause infection. When seniors’ nails are thickened, they cannot be cut with regular nail scissors or clippers.”

It is wise to seek help from a podiatrist to have your family member’s feet tended to approximately every eight weeks. A good foot care treatment should include an antibacterial soak, exfoliation, nail trimming, cleaning between toes, heel care and a good moisturizing cream applied to the feet and lower legs afterwards. When choosing a podiatrist, ask which services are included in foot care treatment.

It is important for senior diabetics to have regular foot care appointments with a podiatrist as they tend to have circulatory problems, venous insufficiency or arterial disease. Be sure to let the podiatrist know that the person has diabetes.

Seniors tend to have yellowish, brittle, hard to cut nails. If they are not trimmed, nails can curve downward and cut the skin. In between visits to the podiatrist or foot care nurse, it is good to soak their feet in Epsom salts periodically. It not only feels soothing, but helps soften nails.

If a senior has a toenail with a fungal infection, it is helpful to massage the nail with tea tree oil once in the morning and again in the evening. Although it may take some time to see a visible difference, it will eventually improve, and nail colour will be restored.

For cracked, fissured heels, ask the podiatrist which creams are best. Vaseline can be applied to heels in the evening and socks worn overnight in bed to let it soak in. An alternative is Bag Balm, a product used to soften skin on cow’s udders which can be used to soften skin on feet too. This product can be purchased at your local pet shop.

Alternate care for seniors’ feet is to have a foot massage which provides improved circulation and comfort for foot pain.

If you are seeking a podiatrist in Laval, Dr. Alexandra Zorbas, podiatrist, Dr. Scott Pace, podiatrist and Dr. Layale Cherfan, podiatrist, are located at Clinique Podiatrique de Chomedey, 4415 boul. Notre-Dame, # 106, Chomedey. They can be reached at 450-682-7800 or via their website

Some of the services provided by Clinique Podiatrique de Chomedey provides include nail trimming, treatment for corns and callouses, hammer toes, bunions, diabetic foot care, laser therapy for fungal nails, orthotics and surgery.