Foot care clinic services begin in February

Foot care clinic services begin in February Right foot, left foot, feet, feet, feet; How many many feet you meet?

Have you ever wondered what Dr. Seuss was thinking when he wrote an entire children's book about feet? Children love the silly rhymes and sing-song rhythms used to describe the shape, color, and age of feet of these fuzzy colorful creatures. Ironically, children are unaware of just how important the "feet they meet" can become.

Today's seniors can appreciate the stability, balance and support that healthy feet offer. Having healthy feet can enhance one's ability to remain active and independent.

It is well known that persons with diabetes may have problems with circulation (blood flow), neuropathy (sensation), and healing injuries of the foot. However, it is not as well known that normal age changes, as well as other chronic illnesses, can also create foot complications.

Persons with visual impairments, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, strokes, peripheral vascular disease and kidney disease are also at high risk. In addition, anyone who has difficulty reaching their feet to provide proper toenail clipping, cleaning and moisturizing can develop painful problems, injuries and infections.

The prevalence of foot problems in the general population is about 10 percent. However, prevalence reports for foot problems in older adults range from 53-95 percent. One small study reported that 90 percent of the 308 senior participants performed inappropriate foot care practices and 47 percent wore inappropriate shoes.

How should you care for your feet?

Daily foot care

* Inspect feet daily for redness, swelling, corns, calluses, blisters, pain or bleeding. Report changes to your healthcare professional.

* Wash and dry feet daily with lukewarm water. (Soaking is no longer recommended due to drying of skin, increased swelling and risk of injury).

* Keep feet moisturized. Use products with lanolin, vitamin E, aloe, or lac-hydrin.

* Keep area between toes dry.

Caring for toenails and feet

* Clip toenails straight across.

* Do not use a knife or scissors to cut toenails.

* File sharp corners and edges.

* NEVER cut or use chemical corn removers on calluses or corns. Maintain by buffing with a pumice stone or emery board in a circular motion.

* Wear loose, cushioning socks and avoid seams under toes.

* Get regular exercise to stimulate blood flow to feet. Stretch your calves and Achilles tendons before you begin.

If you have diabetes and/or loss of sensation or circulation problems, do not walk barefoot or stocking foot; frequently check shoes for stones or debris that can unknowingly harm your feet; avoid smoking.

If you are having difficulty caring for your feet or the feet of your loved one, there are professionals available to help. Cathy Andre, RN at Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center, has recently completed foot care education and clinical experience in foot care through Sioux Valley's Center for Successful Aging in Sioux Falls. Andre was trained to provide foot assessment and patient education, as well as clip, file and grind down thick nails, corns, and calluses with a rotary tool (under the order of a local physician).

Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center is currently scheduling weekly foot care clinics at the Senior Citizens Center. The cost for a foot care session is $20. To schedule an appointment for foot care assistance in Vermillion, please call 605-624-2611, ext. 496. For questions or additional information regarding foot care, please contact Andre at ext. 132.

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