Have you noticed that your client/loved one is walking differently? Are they limping, favoring one foot or dragging their feet? Are their shoes wearing out on the toe cap? Are they worn through on the soles? Can they put their shoes on/off independently?
Consider the following:
1. Circulatory changes to the feet can be symptoms of medical illnesses. Check for swollen legs and ankles. Look for discoloration, shiny skin, scabs that haven’t healed. Speak with their medical doctor if you notice any of these and, if so, set up an office visit.
2. Don’t forget to check the fit of their socks. Assess if the elastic causes indentations on their legs. You may need to snip the elastic to ease the pressure. Diabetic socks are made without elastic and address this issue. Ask your medical doctor if compression socks are warranted.
3. Do their toenails need care? A sign of untrimmed toenails may be holes in their socks. They may also have holes in their shoes from nails pressing against the leather. If you notice this make an appointment with a podiatrist who will do a foot check and trim their nails. Some insurance plans will cover this cost.
4. Do their shoes fit properly? This is often a cause of falls. Are shoes too small, too big, too wide? With aging, foot sizes change. Stop by a shoe store and have the fit checked. You may need to purchase new shoes. Make sure the soles are a non-skid material.
5. Are your clients still able to bend over to tie their shoes without becoming short of breath or dizzy? Do they still have the hand coordination necessary to tie them? If not, consider various shoe closures such as elastic laces, velcro closures, step in shoes. Consider long handled shoe horns to prevent the need to bend over.
6. Don’t forget to check their slippers. These too should have backs and non-skid soles. They should not be “step-ins.” Again, check for proper fit.