Thursday, May 28, 2015

Help For Aging Hands & Feet

     As you age, the skin on your hands tends to become dry and fragile.  Veins become more pronounced, age spots appear and the hands become thinner and less fleshy. 
     As you grow older, it is common for brown age spots to appear on the backs of the hands.  Age spots, sometimes known as liver spots, are due to melanin producing cells clumping together.  Age spots may be worsened by exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.  Manicures using vitamins C, E, and alpha-hydroxy acids can help fade brown age spots. 
     The backs of the hands are often the first place where skin starts to age.  Moisturize your hands in the morning and evening, and after immersing your hands in water.  Moisturizer is absorbed into the skin most quickly when it is warm, electric lotion warmers are great for this purpose. 
     As you age, your nails may thicken and become ridged.  They may get brittle and break or split.  Wear a clear nail strengthener polish to protect your nails against everyday wear and tear.  If applying color polish, always use a basecoat to prevent staining your nails.  Apply a topcoat every other day to prevent chipping. 
     Arthritis in the hands can cause pain as well as restricted movement as you grow older.  Warm lotion manicures, gentle hand massage, warm paraffin dips, and heated mitts can all help to relieve stiffness and arthritis pain. 
     Years of wear and tear combined with poorly fitting shoes can damage your feet as they grow older.  Good foot care is an important investment in your mobility – present and future.  Problems such as dry skin, calluses, ingrown toenails, or fungus infections should be treated as soon as possible.  Consistent professional pedicures once a month help to insure that your feet stay healthy as you age. 
     Corns and calluses are caused by friction between shoes and the bony areas of the foot.  Corns and calluses are more likely to appear as the bony parts of the foot become less padded.  Pedicures using alpha-hydroxy will safely reduce thick-callused skin. 
     Ingrown toenails occur most commonly on the big toes.  To avoid causing ingrown toenails, be sure the toenails are cut square across.  Sharp-toed shoes often cause ingrown toenails.  Always wear properly fitting shoes. 
     Nail fungus infections often affect people over age 40.  Fungus infections can be caused by the entry of microscopic fungi through a small trauma.  Fungus causes nails to become discolored and thickened.  Mild or moderate fungus can be treated by applying a topical liquid containing thymol twice a day. 
      To prevent circulatory foot problems make sure your socks do not impede circulation.  Avoid sitting with one leg crossed over the other and sit with your feet raised when possible. 
      If you need help with aging hands and feet then see a professional licensed nail technician and skin care specialist.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Senior Foot Care and Maintenance

     Foot maintenance is important for everyone.  But for seniors, foot care is critical.  Lack of proper maintenance can result in conditions that can only be helped by a physician or a podiatrist.

     Foot problems are more common in the elderly than in the general population.  Conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, corns, ingrown toenails, fungus, arthritis, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) take years to develop.

     Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis resulting from the chronic wear of bones and joints.

     Bunions are characterized by a large accumulation of extra bone behind the big toe on the inside border of the foot.

     Hammertoes result from the “bucking up” of the small joints of the toes.  A thickening of these joints often results at the knuckles and can cause corns to form.  As the top of the toe rubs against the top of the shoe, it irritates the side and stimulates the growth of a corn.  Soaking the feet in warm water and Epsom salts is an effective method of alleviating discomfort.  Lavender and grape-seed oil warm wax treatments are also good for easing the pain associated with these conditions.

     Ingrown toenails are sometimes due to a genetic tendency. But more often, ingrown toenails are caused by improperly fitting footwear and improper nail trimming.  Toenails should be trimmed straight across and the corners rounded and smoothed.  The corners of the nails should not have any sharp edges.

      Ingrown toenails can become infected when the nail plate grows into the flesh of the toe and acts like a foreign body.  Signs of infection of ingrown toenails are pain, redness, swelling and yellow or white drainage.  If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor or podiatrist as soon as possible to get the infection treated.

     Dry skin increases the chances of developing a foot infection.  As we age, oil-producing glands slow down production, causing skin to become thin and dry.  Dry skin also has less strength than moist skin, so it runs an increased risk of cracking.  Keeping the skin moisturized on the feet requires regular home maintenance.  Seniors should apply a Vitamin E & Aloe lotion to their feet everyday.

     Unlike skin, the nails thicken with age.  Fungal infections, decreased circulation, or accumulated trauma to the nails can all cause thickening.  Thickened nails are unattractive and may cause shoe-fitting problems.  Pain may result when the thickened nail presses against the top of the shoes.

     Seniors should have their toenails professionally trimmed monthly to minimize foot difficulties.  If fungus is the cause of toenail thickening then a topical Thymol liquid fungus killer should be applied twice daily.  Simple maintenance at home and monthly visits to a professional licensed nail technician can help ensure that senior foot conditions and ailments do not get worse.