My name is Emma Supple

My name is Emma Supple.

I work in private practice in Enfield
in a clinic called Supple Feet

and I also work for the NHS
as a podiatrist and podiatric surgeon.

I think the first thing to say
about elderly feet

is that sometimes it just gets harder
and harder to get to your feet

the more elderly you get.

We have to be mindful that people
are living more on their own.

Especially as you get more elderly
you're more isolated sometimes.

Again you can't be dictatorial
about this.

So clearly if you have someone
who's elderly, can't get to their feet,

then we need to bring in
some extra help.

So if you have someone elderly
who needs their toenails cut,

that's nothing to be frightened of, you
do to them what you'd do to yourself.

Only if the nails get thickened or
involuted or ingrowing or clearly sore,

then you can get a professional.

More and more clinics like ourselves
are doing just toenail trims

because we recognise
that there's a need,

and charities like Age Concern
are managing this social care.

It's very important
when you go to your podiatrist

to take a list of your medications.

We are very interested
if you're diabetic,

we need to know if you're on warfarin,

we need to know what antibiotics
you're taking etcetera

so that we can really
bring that into your care

because you'd be surprised to know

that there are lots of things
that manifest themselves on your feet

that come about from other diseases.

For instance, rheumatoid arthritis,
diabetes, some of the arthritises

can cause problems
that we see on feet.

As we get older we do expect certain
things to start happening to our feet.

We know that the foot's
the furthest away from your heart

and obviously your circulation
has longer to get there

and the nerve pathways and things,

so as you get older we do hope and
expect that you have good foot health

but we do need to be mindful that
you can be more vulnerable in the area,

for example chilblains.

If you have a tendency to be
more fragile you're more likely to fall,

if you fall
you're going to have a fracture

and that's going to impair your mobility
and independence more.

So that's where the
multidisciplinary team starts to work,

with the district nurses,
with the carers, with the doctors,

with the physiotherapists
and the podiatrists

all giving important input into looking
after the elderly and their feet.

It's very important that people know
that there's lots of places

where they can go and get help
with these simple tasks

such as cutting your toenails,
washing your feet.

And then we have a huge problem
in the country

of increasing problems with
Alzheimer's and dementia, very sadly,

and those individuals do need
to be checked on their foot care

because often their shoes and socks
stay on in the doctor's surgery

and no one has a look
to see what's actually happening.

So you need to make sure you get no
nasty skin infections between the toes

and the skin's being looked after

and everything is really quite
comfortable and hygienic and healthy.

So, in summary, elderly feet
are feet you've had for a lifetime,

have walked you a lifetime
and have done you an amazing service,

so you need to be paying attention
to them.

Simple things, washing them well,
moisturising them well,

getting them to a podiatrist for
professional help whenever needed,

always looking to wear insoles,
orthotics, arch supports.

They're very helpful
at making your feet comfortable.

Making sure the shoes you wear
are suitable for the occasion,

so you walk up a mountain
in a pair of walking boots

and you go to a dance
in a pair of dance shoes.

If you're unfortunate enough
to start getting

actual disease processes
going on in your feet,

the podiatry profession
would be very pleased to help you

and very capable of helping you

and you'd be surprised
how instant the relief can be.

Essentially look after these feet.
They've been looking after you.

And take care of them.