Common Foot Problems
One in three adults over the age of 65 experience foot pain. Our feet carry the weight of our bodies our whole life, so it’s no wonder that as we get older, we are more likely to experience foot problems.
Conditions such as Osteoarthritis, diabetes and being overweight can make you more at risk of developing foot problems and pain.
Common Foot Problems in Older People Are:
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
- Poor circulation
- Heel pain and cracked heels
- Ankle pain
- Fungal infections
- Diabetic foot conditions
Diabetic Foot Problems
People living with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing foot problems. This is because a high blood sugar (glucose) level can damage the sensation in your feet. It can also affect your blood circulation meaning your feet may receive less blood supply. A low blood supply can affect the time it takes your cuts to heal. A high blood sugar level is also known to cause damage to the immune system, this means people with diabetes are more susceptible to infections including fungal infections.
If you leave these problems untreated for a prolonged time they can become more severe, they could lead to foot ulcers, serious infections and even amputation.
Arthritic Foot Problems
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is known to cause ankle and foot pain. The joints In your feet it is most likely to affect is the heel bone joints, the big toe joint and the joint between the ankle and the shinbone.
People with arthritis in their feet describe the pain as a deep, achy feeling and it can also feel like a sharp, stabbing sensation whilst walking around.
Elderly Foot Care
There are simple ways to look after your foot health, try and make them part of your health care routine.
An Average Foot Care Routine Involves:
- Keeping your toenails short
- Keeping your feet clean
- Moisturising your feet
- Wearing suitable footwear
- Checking for blisters, signs of infection and any other common foot problems
- Wear clean socks daily
Diabetic Foot Care
Controlling your diabetes will improve your overall health. If you are able to monitor and control your blood sugar levels then the risk of foot health complications will be largely reduced.
Tips for Foot Care With Diabetes:
- Have an annual foot check with your GP
- Check your feet yourself every day
- Clean your feet regularly
- Wear well-fitted shoes that aren’t too tight or too loose
- Don’t walk barefooted
- Cut toenails regularly
- If you notice any pain or cuts, or sign of infection talk about it with your GP
Arthritic Foot Care
There is no cure for arthritis but there are treatments that can relieve pain and discomfort.
- Pain relievers
- Steroid medication injections
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Shoe insoles
- Custom-fitted shoes
- Foot exercises
If you talk to your GP they should advise you on the best treatment to deal with any foot pain you may be experiencing. Investing in well fitted, supportive foot ware and doing foot exercises regularly can help prevent further foot health decline.
It is important to wear comfortable well-fitted shoes. Loose or tight-fitting shoes can cause sores, hammertoe, corns and calluses. Shoes with low heels and a good grip are recommended for improving your balance and stability.
High heeled shoes shift your body weight forward. Your toes and the ball of your foot takes all the pressure of your body weight which can cause pain, bunions and hammertoes. It is advised to wear flat shoes that spread the pressure evenly across your whole foot.
For fall prevention it is recommended to always wear either shoes or slippers with a sturdy grip when walking around the house. Bare feet, socks and tights can leave you more at risk of slipping. Walking around barefooted also increases your chance of getting a skin infection.
Insoles can help improve the comfort of your shoes, decrease foot pain, and provide support for the arches of your feet. If you chose the right insoles to support your feet then walking can become more comfortable and enjoyable.
Overtime slippers can become worn down and lose their grip, when this happens it’s important to replace them so you reduce your risk of falling.
Avoid wearing loose, heavily worn or backless slippers as these increase your risk of falling. Chose slippers that are non-slip, have ankle support, have strong rubber soles, fit your feet well and are comfortable.
How Often You Should Check Your Feet
It is advised for older people to check their feet once a week. This keeps you on top of your foot health and allows you to catch any problems straight away, so they can be treated before they worsen.
If you have a condition that affects your feet such as diabetes, arthritis or blood circulation problems you should check your feet regularly, it is advised to check them every day. If you notice any pain, changes or common foot problems arising it is important to let your GP know as soon as possible.