Do elderly always have bad feet?

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My 88 year old father was recently in the ER and I saw that his toenails looked horrible, thick and yellow. But even worse was when I took my 93 year old mother to see her doctor and her toenails were really long, the large nails were also thick and discolored and the skin around her toes looked very flaky. Frankly, it was gross and I was shocked. The doctor said he sees this all the time. I know my dad was taking my mom to see a podiatrist, but he's had shingles for several months and I'm just now finding out a lot of things they've kept pretty well hidden.

Besides the fact that I want to take care of my parents (they are going into a wonderful assisted living facility this weekend), I'm wondering if horrible looking feet is an inevitable part of aging. My husband and I don't have children and we are seeing how important it is to take care of ourselves! We're trying to learn from my parents and take care of ourselves.

Answers 1 to 10 of 39
My mother-in-law has gnarly toes, and my husband who is 61 already has thick toe nails, so I suppose he's doomed. My mother before she died last year, her toes look fine. But she used to paint her toe nails like I do and try to take care of them. So I don't know whether it's heredity or neglect that causes such weird toes when you got old. I've never had a pedicure in my life, but I took my m-i-l and daughter-in-law with me last year, and we all had pedicures. Mother-in-law is legally blind, but since her favorite color is blue, she wanted blue toe nail polish. So she had gnarly blue toes thereafter, but I was the only one that had to actually SEE them. :)
Yeah, I think thick gnarly toe nails pretty much go with the old age territory. My mother, my husband, and I all have our toenails trimmed regularly by a podiatrist. Except for not being able to cut them ourselves, the only drawback is appearance. This is not a health issue. And I doubt it is related to neglect.

I'm sure there are exceptions, but I'll bet this is more common than not.
I think a lot of it is heredity. I have terrible feet...ugly with a severe bunion and getting crooked toes and I am 52. Have had the bunion since in my 20's. My Mom's feet are terrible and I remember them being that way when I was growing up. So, a lot is heredity. I also believe the nails just get thicker and yellow as we age...part of that may be due to the inability to take care of them.
My Mom has one good foot and one bad. She sees a podiatrist every other month. Her insurance pays for it. She has a hammer toe on one foot and had the hammer tie on the other repaired.

I know the hammer toe is from wearing shoes that are too small. As we get older and our muscles weaken our feet get flatter making them longer and wider. My Mom wore an 8 narrow all her life and she was going to cram her feet into those 8 narrows no matter what. After much pain and many arguments she's now wearing a 9 medium, but the damage is already done.
My mom always had nice feet and toenails when she was younger. Then, around age 50, they started looking like a big ball of fungi...TALL and I would use the pumice stone on them just so that she could wear shoes. After several podiatrists that did NOTHING for her, yet charged....I took matters into my own hands as usual. I found a great surgeon and took mom to him. I told him, we need to REMOVE these big balls of fungi so that she can grow back nice nails. He agreed. I took her for every appt (except one follow-up) and now, her nails are nice!! She was 75 when this was done. I made sure one nail healed up completely before taking her back for the next one to be done. Of course, I had to make sure that the NH wasn't letting her walk around barefoot to get infection..which they DID on several occasions. Seems I am always dong THEIR job FOR them.
No, it isn't uncommon, but it is preventable. Good hygiene and consistent care can keep them looking great! Both my parents have great looking feet. They are 81 and 87...but I make sure they get regular showers, feet kept clean, dry. Nails trimmed... I would say it is a good sign that they need more help than they are currently getting/allowing. :)
I think the nails get thick if not cut/trimmed. I my moms are more thick and yellowed than I ever recall seeing. I am only 60 and have noticed some thickening and discoloration. I never even thought of toe nails in caring for mom. Then, I looked and one of her toenails curves and punctures the skin on her toe. The pedicure place cost less than a podiestrist (sp) so i took mom for one and she is healed. If this had not corrected the issue i would have taken her to a doctor.

Now I take her regularly every other month or so, for a pedicure. I always look at her toes now.
If your family member has diabetes, it is especially important that their feet are observed regularly and kept healthy. Toenail fungus is difficult to treat as the meds to treat it are hard on your liver, and if people are already on several meds, they just can't tolerate it. And yes, our toenails seem to thicken with age, it may be hereditary or partially due to decreased circulation. Darcy123 is correct, if you notice neglected nail care, it probably is a sign that more help is needed. And again, if your loved one is in a facility, you will need to make sure their nails are
cared for. Some places won't let the direct care staff cut nails due to chances of injury.
I practice good hygiene and consistent care. I take regular showers, keep my feet clean and dry. And my nails started thickening in my 60s. Ditto for my husband. I think luck has more to do with what happens to your nails than good care.
I thought thick nails were a sign of a fungus infection. My big toes and smallest toes are like that. My doctor told me to see a podiatrist....because it is fungus. Heels are also dry. I put cream on every night, but the next day they look the same. Guess I better make an appt.

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