Follow
Share

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.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I'm glad because one thing I noticed with my mom is she didn't have many interests. She was a visiting nurse and did really well while she was working, but once she retired, I think things started to go. She was always shy so stuck within her comfort zone and mostly associated with a couple of ladies from church. Otherwise, she liked to read and spend time alone, it seemed.

My dad has always been outgoing, with lots of friends and activities. He'll be 88 next month and has done quite well until recently. He's been a little more confused recently because of medication, but I can still have a decent conversation with him.

I wanted to add that I'm also into photography and I'm a colored pencil artist. I just submitted a drawing of my horse to a competition. I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging, although I guess in a way I am. But as I've mentioned, I turned 60 this year and I'm happy that I have so many interests and activities I'm able to do.

I notice that I have more aches and pains now, but I can still do the things I love. Warm-up time is just a bit slower! And one last thing (sorry). I feel extremely fortunate to have my horses. I've been really stressed over my parents and tired, but yesterday I took my horse to some gorgeous wooded trails and rode bareback for an hour and a half. I met one person walking her dog, but most of the ride was just me, my horse and nature. I'm truly blessed.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

theirdaughter, Good for you! Thanks for sharing this good self-care report, it is an inspiration to me!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I have to laugh at all the responses I got to this! I'll tell you what, this is making me really think about how I'm taking care of myself NOW so I, hopefully, don't have quite so many problems later on. I do Pilates and exercise regularly using the treadmill or the elliptical. I ride my horses and am learning dressage. I use sunscreen and my latest is making sure I moisturize my feet! Oh and there's the glass of red wine and getting enough sleep!!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I meant and how much you eat of it. Is it good or bad?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Na its all a part of what you eat! And what you eat. And then some.... I cant tell you for a small fee
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks Grace, I know you're right.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It's only disturbing if we allow it to be disturbing. I do remember the first time I looked in a mirror (at a department store trying on a necklace with BRIGHT overhead lights and a mirror tilted just so...) and saw MY MOTHER'S NECK! It was a shock! And I did let it disturb me for a minute...but not for long. That was probably 15 years ago or maybe even more....Now when I see reflections of my mother in the mirror, I'm okay with that. I could do much worse! ;)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Oh I'm half joking about my neck. I always had a great jawline and at 60, it's started sagging and in general I'm losing skin elasticity all over my body! I know it's part of aging, but it's still disturbing!!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Your question seems to assume that wrinkling or "crepey" necks, which I believe is part of normal aging, is bad. Personally, I celebrate my wrinkles and gray hair and crepey neck. I have earned the wrinkles and the gray hair. I have survived much and am a better/wiser/stronger/softer person for it. I do not try to prevent wrinkles or cover my gray. I wear them proudly. Very different from toe-nail fungus.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

What about your neck? Whats wrong ? Is it the same thing if it is then same answer I given.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Podiatrists can be very helpful and are often totally necessary, but remember that they have no incentive to do prevention education....If everyone PREVENTED toenail fungus or treated it with products like Vicks Vaporub, the podiatrists would take a hit in the pocket book. I'm just saying...
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My family just got my parents into assisted living. I know a podiatrist comes on a regular basis, so I'm hoping that helps. We really let them be on their own for too long.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Leftylucy~ My sisters dr. told her that psoriasis effects the nails too. The Podiatrist told her that yellow thick toe nails is a fungus infection that is most often caused by cutting the nail to short and injuring the nail bed and it it NOT caused from neglect or poor hygiene.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Love it! What about my neck?! :-)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It's really all that simple cleanness keeping up with it daily bathing or feet washing or at least ever other day. Proper medication creams ether from store or shelf brand or from the prescription foot doctor. My mother had the same problem yellow thick it was neglect. I wash it every other day or so and shes fine her toes look normal good I simply keep them trimmed clean put lotion powder on them let air day completely and it looks good!. And its all lacking is Omega 3-6-9 oils you can get this at any good Vitamin store. Or can't afford that then simply take Olive oil 1 Table spoon a day! That's it! Hope this helps!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Well ladies what we have to go through!!!LOL
Sounds like you all have it under control..I swear though that BAG BALM is the greatest oitment and you do not have to use alot. Never knew about it until I moved to a small town and somebody told me what they used it for. I"ll be.. Thanks for the tip on VICKS. Im a old school girl and I was a faithful user of that as a child. Learn something every day....God Bless you all.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Doc also told my mom her nails are effected by her psoriasis.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you everyone!!! This is the best forum because right now I'm so overwhelmed with my parents. I see these conditions and I'm horrified because I didn't know and feel bad that I wasn't there to help them. BUT I feel equally horrified because I don't want to look like that! I'm 60 and everything is getting dry!!! I haven't paid a lot of attention to my feet and they still look fine, just a bit dry in spots on the soles. What's really killing me is my neck!!!!!!!

I need to do a separate post now on my mom's incontinence and her hiding her used pads all over the place!

Thank you guys!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

BTW, I have also read using vinegar and baking soda in water to soak your feet helps too.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I'm only 54 and have thick toe nails and it has been like this for a least the last 10 years. I practice good hygiene and trim my nails. My sister has the same problem and her dr. told her it is a fungus infection and to use tea tree oil on her toe nails twice a day. The prescription for the fungus can damage the liver so her dr. won't prescribe it. You will need to trim your nails back as far as you can then apply the oil 2 x's a day for six months. My sis says it is improved but not cured so it may take longer than six months. I am going to try it too. It has nothing to do with bad hygiene and not taking care of your feet. Unfortunately it seems to be a very common thing as we age and I do not think it can be avoided. Why do some people get it and others do not I have no answer for it but it seems to me that more people have this problem than those that don't. I have always worked in job that require me being on my feet all day, I am not saying my feet don't sweat, but I do not have a foot odor problem or wet socks so it is not the same as athletes feet. My mother has it too and I do not know if it is an inherited condition or not.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I know exactly what you mean. I was shocked when my Mom came to live with me and I saw her toenails. They looked an inch thick and I rushed her to the podiatrist thinking he was also going to be shocked. He said that over 80% or more people will have toenails like that after age 80. I never knew that. Mine were already starting to get that fungus (age 58) and I asked him if my toenails would be like my Mom's some day. He told me they would unfortunately. Mine were also ingrown, so I had them all removed. I do not have toenails now, but knowing I will never have those thick toenails makes it all worth it. He is a great podiatrist though, and he trims Mom's toenail every other month and also files them down with an electric instrument and gets them really smooth and small. He does a terrific job. I would get hers permanently removed like mine, but I don't think she could handle the pain during recovery.
I had to laugh when I saw your post, because I knew exactly how you felt when you first saw those toenails. :-)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

the toenail fungus is a result of having candida in the body. It may not always show up in women as a regular candida yeast infection and obviously men do not have that type of reaction. My mom is 94 and has had it for a long time. Strict diet is the only way to eliminate candida from body completely, and not an option for my mom. Her poliatrist and dr say the med for it is worse than having an ugly nail at her age
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I agree that fungus is probably the problem for the thickened yellow toe nails. The Vicks ointment does work. Use it at least twice a day for about 2 months while the new nail is growing out. The gross flakey skin problem: my husband can't reach his feet to scrub them and he has this problem also. I have to weekly soak his feet in soapy water and then gently scrub the old flaky skin with a wash cloth. A net poof or loofa sponge would be a good choice,too. His feet look so much better and I don't mind scrubbing his feet because I don't have to look at the grossness all week. If heels are cracking, there are several really good ointments for that; my favorite is the AVON heel and elbow cream with shea butter. Another good one is Bag Balm. Use these at bedtime and wear socks to keep the oil off the sheets.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

meatjeanne, kerasil ointment (around ten dollars at the drug store) works well on heels that don't respond to anything else. If you use it nightly, within a week your heels will be better. I don't like the greasy feel so don't use it often as I should, but regular lotions and creams do nothing for me. I even see fairly young women with nasty heels and calluses...yuck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

No, it is not normal nor is it healthy. It can be a sign of toenail fungus that requires a medication taken internally and needs to be done under the care of a doctor. This is an infection and can cause you to lose toenails and if you are a diabetic or have a heart condition, infection can travel and cause serious problems. My grandma died in her 90's and her feet were gorgeous. My mother, on the other hand, had this fungal problem and was given pills which cleared things up. Even I in my 30's had the same problem though I always cared for my feet (I am diabetic) and had to take the Lamisil.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Interesting topic. I live in central Florida where it is hot and humid ALL YEAR LONG and about 5 years ago I was working for a home health agency that required that we employees (even those of us doing non-medical care) wear closed-toed shoes. I got fungus under one of my big toe-nails! Nail grew very thick and was ugly yellow. Other nail just fine. I saw a doctor and was told that the med's for the fungus are so expensive that insurance will not pay unless there is some sort of unusual dire health consequence of the fungus. I hid it the best I could with nail polish, but still was very uncomfortable with it, always afraid it would spread to other toes. Recently a friend told me that Vicks Vap-O-Rub salve on the toe would get rid of it. I didn't really believe her, but I started massaging the end of my toe, the cuticle, and the toe-nail with the Vicks salve every morning (most mornings) when I got out of the shower. Sometimes I would get in a rush or just forget. Anyway, it's been a couple of months now and the condition is improved by at least 50% or more. Looks MUCH better. Mine was maybe a milder case of the fungus than some, but I'm sure glad I found out about the Vicks salve treatment. My mom would be so proud! She used to swear by Vicks salve for just about any ailment you could get. Because of the results I have seen so far, I think if I keep using it, then eventually my toe will be its old self again! That's my "home remedy" tip for today! Blessings to all - Grace
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thick nails is usually a sign of fungus.....my Dad has a fingernail that is 1/4 inch thick and we have to use a dremel to cut it. I cut his other nails or they get long and nasty..

His feet....gross. Sad thing is he doesn't have much feeling past his knees, so he had wounds on his feet that he didn't even know he had (prior to him living here)...so now I have to soak / scrub / care for his gross feet.

The nails are fairly yellowish, some art thick, but not horriby so. What grosses me out is the smell and the dead skin....no matter how often I clean them and slather them up with the special foot cream, they always look gross. I bought the latex gloves to wear when I deal with his feet.

He got a small open spot on the back of his heel that quickly got bigger than a quarter. It has been since April and is still not healed up...

I think age just makes feet gross...
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Im 65 and do have Diabetes also and take meds for the disease. I get my toes done once a month and feet rubbed and it really doesn't cost all that much. I put on my bill list. Toenails cut and polished and taken care of. I agree with all of you that I believe that it does come with age. When I was very young and didn't have alot I would stuff my feet into shoes I had no business wearing. Now my shoes may not be always stylish, but my feet can breath. Take care of your feet. Buy some epson salt and soak them if nothing else. It feels so good and softens the toenails a little. Go Bless all of you!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Many older people are unable to safely care for their toenails. Medicare covers podiatrist care. They have skill and implements to do the job without any further injury; most important for diabetics but common sense for people who cannot see well or reach their feet to work safely. Sterile conditions important.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.