Foot Health by Age UK

Age UK’s Falls Awareness Week – 17-21 June 2013, but read on ......

Good foot health

Even though this piece was produced by Age UK to coincide with Fall's Awareness Week, we have decided to retain in our Health section as the information is relevant at any time of the year!

 

Age UK’s Falls Awareness Week took place from 17-21 June 2013. It aimed to reduce the risk of falling and to highlight how important it is for everyone to keep their feet healthy to maintain mobility and independence throughout life. Taking regular exercise, having foot checks and wearing well-fitting shoes can all help to prevent falls when we get older.

Whether falling over uneven ground, tripping over steps, or stumbling due to feeling dizzy, over three million people over the age of 65 in the UK suffer a fall each year. This represents half of all hospital admissions for accidental injury.

The impact of a fall can be life-changing, leaving many feeling isolated, anxious and reluctant to leave their home. Injuries as the result of falls are one of the leading causes of death for over 75s.

Age UK is urging people to look after their feet throughout their lives to help prevent falls in later life.

Why look after our feet?

Feet get us around – we use them for running, walking and jumping. In fact, they take us the equivalent of five times around the earth in a lifetime. And yet, most people know very little about their feet and we don’t take as much care of them as we should.

Foot conditions and complaints can result in foot pain. This can cause problems with balance, walking and sensation in the feet which often lead to falls. By looking after our feet these can be preventable.

Keeping feet healthy

Age UK has compiled a list of ways to keep your feet healthy and help to prevent foot problems that increase the risk of falling when we get older.

  • Put your best foot forward and follow a daily foot routine – just like brushing your teeth! Wash your feet daily and don’t soak them as this destroys the natural oils in your skin. Make sure you dry your feet gently, not forgetting in between your toes. You can also apply moisturising cream to help keep your skin healthy but avoid putting it between the toes as it can increase the risk of athlete’s foot.
  • Cut your toenails and inspect your feet regularly to identify any problems and stop them getting worse. Look out for verrucas, corns, in-growing toenails, toenails that are thickened or discoloured, or cracked heels. If you notice any signs of soreness or redness, tell your GP. 
  • Exercise your feet and ankles to keep them in top condition. Doing simple exercises will help to strengthen your feet and ankles to improve circulation and flexibility. Try circling your feet ten times in each direction, keeping your legs as still as possible or try writing the alphabet with your feet.
  • Wear the right shoes that protect and support your feet. Look for a low broad heel with slip resistant soles and choose shoes that can be firmly secured.
  • When shopping for shoes, make sure you can wiggle your toes and take a bit of a walk around the shop to see if they pinch or rub. Your foot shape continues to change throughout your life so try to get your feet measured. It’s also a good idea to go shopping in the afternoon as your feet swell during the day.
  • Have regular foot checks as they are important in identifying any early problems that affect foot sensation and balance, or cause foot pain. Contact The Society of Chiropodist and Podiatrists for details of local practitioners.

During Falls Awareness Week 2013, Age UK worked with falls prevention services, hospitals and other charities, including local Age UKs, to host events and activities for people in later life. The Week promoted activities and projects that help to prevent falls in later life – from finding out how to do strength and balance exercises at an organised session or from the comfort of an armchair, to letting people know how important it is to keep feet healthy to maintain mobility and independence throughout life.

 

For those living on their own or worried about a fall, an Age UK Personal Alarm can help to provide peace of mind, connecting the user to a dedicated call centre at the touch of a button, 24 hours a day. Find out more about the Age UK Personal Alarm and how to purchase by calling 0800 022 4026 or visiting www.ageuk.org.uk/alarm.

About Age UK

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group (“we”).  Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity). 

Age UK Personal Alarms

With the Age UK Personal Alarm Service people can get help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It works by connecting a customer to a dedicated Response Centre which is staffed round the clock. Already more than 45,000 people use a Personal Alarm and benefit from knowing that they can get immediate assistance. It helps older people who live on their own retain their independence, and it also gives family, friends and neighbours peace of mind about their loved ones.

The Age UK Personal Alarm costs from £49 plus £44 per quarter**. This includes full maintenance and replacement. If you would like more information visit www.ageuk.org.uk/alarm or call 0800 022 4026.

© Age UK  2013