I have been concerned about my sister’s feet for some time now, due to the following reasons:
- It appears she has “flat feet”.
- She has calluses on the sole of her feet
- She complains that the calluses sometimes hurt
- She’s overweight
The fact that she was feeling any sort of pain worried me. What does the pain mean? Can I just ignore it? Will it just go away? Are we on a “sure fire” route to osteoarthritis? (See my previous post, 5 Health Problems Related to Down Syndrome, to find out more about that). I couldn’t take the worrying anymore so I sought out a Podiatrist (foot doctor) to get some answers…a feat that is not easy, as there are few Podiatrists here in Jamaica. By the way, it turns out my suspicion was right…my sister does in fact have flat feet.
Our visit, to my delight, actually turned out to not be a waste of time or my money (hooray!) and we actually picked up some great foot care tips from the Podiatrist:
1. Lotion Feet Daily
Do not allow your loved one’s feet to get too dry. I tell my sister to lotion her feet after she takes her bath, especially the sole, as this is where the troublesome calluses reside. You do not need to lotion between your toes.
2. Do Not Cut Your Nails Too Low
This could lead to ingrown nails or other nail issues. Also, this can be frankly uncomfortable for your loved one and they may not be able to effectively communicate to you that it hurts when you do this.
3. Wear Sneakers and Supportive Sandals
Having “flat feet” means your feet may take the shape of the shoes you wear. So, if you wear narrow shoes that are pointed and your feet are naturally wide, this may cause your toes to be squished together. So, wear shoes that fit the natural shape of your feet. Sneakers usually provide such a fit and are comfortable for our loved ones.
I know, not every outfit goes with sneakers. So, if the outfit calls for a sandal, get a sandal that has support i.e. straps around the ankles. When you wear sandals that lack this support, e.g. an open back sandal that you just push your foot into, the front of your foot has to do more “work” to keep the shoe on. This is not good for our loved ones or anyone frankly, as this just adds extra stress to your feet.
4. Make Sure Shoes are Correctly Fitted With A cm Between The Toes and The Shoe
Please take your loved one shopping with you for their shoes. I know this can be a pain, but just as how it is best to fit a bra before buying one, it is best to fit shoes before making a purchase. We all know that even though various brands or styles claim the same size, e.g. size 8, due to the design, material, etc. the fit is not the same. Please remember, some of our loved ones are not able to immediately tell us that they are experiencing discomfort or pain, some never say anything at all, so we must try our best as caregivers to ensure that what they are wearing is the best fit for them. It may not seem like much now, but prolonged mistreatment of our feet (our loved ones and or own) can result in complications later on in life.
Another point to note is that wearing sizes that are too small and thus the shoes are too close on our feet, results in pressure on our toenails, which can cause the nails to be excessively thick or it may cause the nail to separate for the nail bed. Both cases are unsightly and may be uncomfortable.
5. Buy Shoes after 3pm
Sounds odd and quite random, right? Actually, it’s not. Our feet, especially after being walked on all morning, coupled with a tropical climate like the one I live in, tend to get somewhat swollen throughout the day. Therefore, what might be a good fit in the morning, may not fit as comfortably in the evening.
6. Lose Some Weight
The calluses you see on your loved one’s sole indicate the areas which have to support the most pressure. More weight means more pressure to support, thus losing some weight will ease some of the pressure and lessen the occurrence of calluses. Sometimes when you try and remove the calluses yourself (my sister has tried to do this herself), they can end up being sore and then they hurt and make walking difficult. So, please visit your Podiatrist to have your calluses professionally removed.
Our Feet Need Love Too
I know it is easy to forget about our loved one’s feet…a matter of fact, I often forget about my own and that I should treat them well. The thing is, your loved one might not show any signs right now of any discomfort but we cannot afford to wait until it’s too late and the damage is already done. So, let’s pay attention to our loved one’s feet and ensure that they get the TLC (tender loving care) they deserve.
Is this something you and your loved one deal with on a daily basis…”foot problems”? Does your loved one have flat feet as well? Share with me what your journey has been. I would love to hear your story and any tips you may have.