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Foot Care For Older Adults - Basic Foot & Nail Care

Ageing is a part of life. After our feet have carried us for many kilometres through our life, they can eventually wear down. There are ways to keep our feet healthy as we age - through proper maintenance, care and regular check-ups.

The following guide can assist older adults, family members and support workers have a better understanding about foot care maintenance and improvement tips.

It is important to regularly check foot health as it can prevent complications with other health conditions such as:

  • Impaired mobility and balance

  • Limited independence

  • Increased risk of falls

  • Diminished quality of life


  • HEEL PAIN (plantar fasciitis) caused by wearing the wrong shoes, flat feet or walking on hard surfaces

  • WARTS on the sole, heel or toes, which appear as a white area of skin with tiny black dots in the centre

  • TINEA (also known as athlete's foot), an infection of the skin characterised by a red, itchy rash or peeling of the skin, especially between the toes

  • BUNIONS that occur because your toes and feet change shape, causing skin damage and pain while walking and wearing shoes

  • CORNS AND CALLUSES due to pressure from footwear or walking, often found on the tops of the toes, balls of the feet and heels

  • INGROWN TOE NAILS on any toe, but most commonly the big toe

  • DIABETES-RELATED FOOT DISEASE DFD most commonly occurs in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It results in an insensitive and often deformed foot.

There are other skin conditions and toenail issues (including fungal or thickened toenails) that need regular foot care and advice from a health professional.


Regular foot maintenance can be difficult for the elderly as it can be hard to reach their feet due to mobility or poor eye sight, simple things like cutting toenails can be an issue that Family members and care givers can assist with.


  • Nails should be cut straight across and filed smooth by a podiatrist

  • Thick and ingrown nails should be attended to by a podiatrist

  • Rub moisturiser into the skin around the nails

  • Changes in nails, such as in colour, swelling, texture or signs of bleeding should be monitored..

In order to achieve and maintain good foot health, you must always be aware of your foot; always wear the right kind of footwear, practice good hygiene - clean, wash and properly dry your foot every day and visit your Podiatrist for a regular foot health-check.


  • Wash and dry feet every day with warm water and mild soap (including between the toes)

  • Check for problems such as cuts, bruises, blisters, swelling and pus (report accordingly)

  • Moisturise the skin

  • Avoid over-the-counter corn cures

  • Ensure that shoes fit correctly

  • Encourage sensible, supportive footwear

  • Change socks daily

  • Recommend clients to use a hand mirror to check underneath their feet

  • Recommend an annual foot check by a podiatrist.


Injuries such as cuts, blisters, sores, red areas or cracks should be tended to immediately

  • Wash and dry the area with care

  • Apply antiseptic

  • Dress with a sterile dressing

  • Monitor the healing of the wound over a 24-hour period and seek timely medical attention if it does not improve.


Your feet are mirrors of your health. Warning signs of health conditions can be dry skin, brittle nails, burning and tingling sensations in your feet, or feelings of cold, numbness, and discolouration. If these occur, see a podiatrist, as they, along with your GP, will be able to pinpoint the cause.

Regular check-ups with your podiatrist are recommended, especially if you cannot look after your feet yourself and you have no one to help you. Nails that grow too long can become infected and if you are diabetic – which has a higher risk factor as we age – infection can lead to more serious illness.



This article does not provide medical advice and it is intended for informational purposes only.

It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. if you use any of the information, content, or products on this website, you do so at your own risk. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the Gold Care Home Services Website. If you think you have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 000.



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