Common foot problems in the elderly

Common foot problems in the elderly

Common Foot Problems in the Elderly

Foot health plays a pivotal role in our overall well-being, yet, it is often overlooked until common foot problems in the elderly arise. This can be especially detrimental for older adults as our feet naturally endure a significant amount of stress and wear throughout our lifetime. At East Gosford Podiatry, we recognise this and emphasise the importance of maintaining foot health, particularly as we age.

Our feet bear the weight of our entire bodies every day. They absorb the shock of each step we take, keep us balanced, and allow us to move freely. The foot, a complex structure with 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments, is a marvel of natural engineering. However, like any well-used machine, it can start to show signs of wear and tear over time.

As we grow older, our feet naturally change. They can lose their cushioning, develop arthritis, and we may even notice changes in size and shape. Furthermore, our skin can become dry and thin, our nails can grow more slowly, and circulation can decrease. These natural changes, coupled with a lifetime of bearing our body weight, can lead to a number of foot problems in the elderly.

Research indicates that one in three adults over the age of 65 experiences common foot problems including foot pain, stiffness, or aching. This not only affects mobility but can also impact general health and quality of life.

The Impact of Age on Foot Health

Ageing is a natural part of life, and it affects every part of the body, including our feet. While we often hear about age-related changes such as wrinkles or grey hair, the impact of ageing on our foot health is less often discussed. Nonetheless, it is a crucial topic given the key role our feet play in mobility and independence.

As we age, our bodies undergo several changes that can directly impact our foot health. Firstly, the fat pads that cushion the bottom of the feet start to thin out, making us more susceptible to pain and discomfort when walking or standing. This is one of the reasons why many elderly individuals prefer wearing extra-padded footwear.

Secondly, the skin on our feet also becomes dry and thin, losing its elasticity. This can lead to cracks and sores, which can be painful and present an entry point for infections. Regular moisturising of the feet can help manage this issue.

Another natural change is the loss of flexibility and range of motion in our feet and ankles. With age, the tendons and ligaments in our feet can lose their elasticity, making them stiffer and less flexible. This decrease in flexibility can impact balance, making falls more likely, and also can contribute to foot pain and discomfort.

In addition to these changes, age-related conditions such as arthritis and diabetes can significantly affect foot health. Arthritis can cause inflammation and swelling in the joints in the feet, making walking painful. Diabetes can lead to a range of foot problems, including decreased circulation and nerve damage, which can result in loss of feeling in the feet, making injuries less noticeable and more prone to infection.

Moreover, changes in our circulatory system are common with age, and this can affect the feet by causing swelling and slowing down the healing of sores and cuts.

All these changes underline the importance of good foot health practices as we age, such as wearing properly fitting footwear, maintaining physical activity to keep the joints flexible, regularly inspecting the feet for any changes or injuries, and seeking professional help when foot problems arise.

At East Gosford Podiatry, we understand these age-related changes and are here to help you manage them effectively. We are committed to supporting you in maintaining your foot health and mobility throughout your golden years. Remember, taking care of your feet is an investment in your overall health and quality of life.

Common Foot Problems in the Elderly

As we age, our feet naturally undergo changes that can lead to a variety of foot problems. Here are some common foot problems for older people:


Bunions are bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of the big toe. They occur when some of the bones in the front part of your foot move out of place, causing the tip of your big toe to get pulled towards the smaller toes, and the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out. Bunions can cause significant and chronic pain, and may be associated with balance issues.

Bunions are more common in women, and the risk increases with age. They can be caused by wearing tight, narrow shoes and high heels, which can push the toes into an unnatural position. Certain types of arthritis can also lead to bunions.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are areas of thick, hardened, dead skin that form due to repeated friction and pressure. Corns usually develop on the tops and sides of the toes and on the balls of the feet. Calluses usually develop on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands.

Elderly individuals are more susceptible to developing corns and calluses due to changes in skin elasticity and the thinning of fat pads on the bottom of the feet. They can cause discomfort when walking and can be especially problematic for those with diabetes, leading to ulcers or other complications if not treated properly.’


Hammertoe is a deformity where one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes begin to bend outside of their normal alignment. This can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.

Hammertoes are usually caused by wearing shoes that are too small or have high heels, which force the toes into a bent position. The risk of developing hammertoes increases with age. It can cause pain and discomfort, and can make it harder for elderly individuals to maintain their balance and walk effectively.

Nail Disorders

Nail disorders such as fungal nail infections, ingrown toenails, and thickening of the nails are common in the elderly. They can be caused by a range of factors, including injury, poor circulation, and diabetes.

Thickened nails can be harder to cut and care for, and ingrown toenails can be very painful and can lead to infection if not treated promptly. Fungal nail infections can cause the nails to become discoloured, thick, and brittle, and can be difficult to treat.

Diabetic Foot Conditions
For individuals with diabetes, foot care becomes even more critical. Diabetes can cause nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor blood circulation (peripheral arterial disease), leading to an increased risk of foot complications. Diabetic foot conditions include foot ulcers, infections, and even the potential for amputation if not properly managed. Our podiatrists specialise in diabetic foot care. We work closely with our patients to develop comprehensive treatment plans, emphasising regular foot examinations, wound care, and appropriate footwear. By prioritising the health of your feet, you can significantly reduce the risk of complications and maintain an active, fulfilling lifestyle.

Arthritis is a common condition that causes inflammation and swelling in the joints, and it can affect the feet and ankles. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout are the types of arthritis most likely to affect the feet and ankles.

Symptoms can include pain, stiffness, swelling, and changes in the shape and function of the feet and toes. This can make it difficult to walk and perform other everyday activities. Treatment may include medication, exercise, and in some cases, surgery.

Poor Circulation
As we age, circulation-related issues, such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), can affect the lower extremities. Poor circulation reduces blood flow to the feet, leading to discomfort, slow wound healing, and an increased risk of infections. To enhance circulation and maintain foot health, our experienced podiatrists can provide personalised advice and treatments, including lifestyle modifications, exercise programs, and specialised therapies. By addressing circulation concerns, we aim to optimise your overall well-being and keep you active and mobile.

Heel Pain
Heel pain, often caused by conditions such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, can significantly impact daily activities and overall quality of life. Fortunately, effective treatment options are available to alleviate heel pain and restore mobility. Our skilled podiatrists employ various non-invasive and minimally invasive techniques to relieve heel pain, including custom orthotics, stretching exercises, physical therapy, and in some cases, advanced interventions. We prioritise understanding the root cause of your heel pain and tailor treatment plans to address your unique needs and goals.


Podiatry Services For Aged Care

Our aged care podiatry services are designed to provide essential foot care, improve mobility, and manage a variety of foot conditions, ensuring you or your loved ones continue to enjoy life to its fullest. Our services can be availed at our well-equipped clinic in East Gosford or within the comfort of Aged Care Facilities.

Our podiatry services for the elderly include:

General Podiatry Assessments: Comprehensive checks to evaluate the overall health of the feet and identify any potential issues.

Nail Care and Infection Control: Proper foot hygiene can prevent many problems. Our team can help with regular nail care, treating fungal infections and offering advice on foot care practices.

Diabetes Foot Management: For those with diabetes, foot care is paramount. We provide specialised foot checks and preventative care to manage diabetes-related foot conditions.

Specialised Treatment Solutions: We offer custom treatment plans for various foot conditions like corns, calluses, bunions, etc., based on individual needs.

Individual Care Plans: Every foot is unique, and so we create tailored care plans that consider the patient’s health history, lifestyle, and foot care needs.

Orthoses: We provide custom-made orthotic devices designed to correct foot posture and alleviate pain.

Biomechanical assessments: Our podiatrists perform thorough assessments of foot and lower limb biomechanics to understand and manage any alignment or movement issues.

At East Gosford Podiatry, our podiatrists possess extensive knowledge and experience in diagnosing and treating a myriad of conditions, diseases, and injuries affecting the feet and lower limbs. We take a proactive approach to foot care, focusing on preventative strategies and early detection of issues.

No matter your age, it’s never too late to start taking better care of your feet. Allow us to guide you on the path to improved foot health and mobility. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

The Importance of Regular Foot Check-ups for the Elderly

At East Gosford Podiatry, we firmly believe in the adage, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ This philosophy is particularly crucial when addressing common foot problems in the elderly. As our bodies age, the normal wear and tear on our feet can lead to a variety of conditions such as bunions, corns and calluses, hammertoes, nail disorders, arthritis, and complications from diabetes. Regular podiatric check-ups can play a pivotal role in managing these conditions effectively and maintaining overall foot health.

Regular visits to a podiatrist do more than just manage existing conditions – they help identify potential issues before they develop into serious problems. This is especially important for the elderly, who often experience a reduced sense of sensation in their feet. Something as small as a corn or a callus can lead to significant discomfort or even infection if left unnoticed or untreated. By scheduling regular check-ups with our expert podiatrists at East Gosford Podiatry, you are taking a proactive approach to foot health.

Early detection is key in managing foot health effectively, particularly in the elderly. Many foot conditions are highly treatable if caught early but can lead to severe problems if left unaddressed. For instance, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to severe foot problems in older adults, including peripheral neuropathy and foot ulcers. With regular foot examinations, our Central Coast podiatrists can monitor any changes and implement an effective treatment plan promptly.

At East Gosford Podiatry, our goal is to enhance the quality of life for the elderly. Regular foot check-ups are a cornerstone of this effort. So, if you or your loved one is over the age of 65, we encourage you to see us for regular foot check-ups. Together, we can address the common foot problems in the elderly, promoting comfort, mobility, and independence for years to come.

Life Beyond Foot Pain: Our Commitment to Your Quality of Life

At East Gosford Podiatry, we’re more than just foot care professionals – we are partners in your health journey. We pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive range of services designed to address the various foot problems that become more common as we age. From regular check-ups to specialised treatments for conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, and diabetic foot issues, our team of experienced Central Coast podiatrists is equipped to cater to all your podiatric needs.

We believe that every individual is unique, and so too should be their treatment plans. That’s why we approach each case with a fresh perspective, tailoring our management plans to suit your specific needs and lifestyle. By combining the latest techniques in podiatry with a person-centred approach, we aim to not just alleviate foot pain, but enhance your overall foot function and mobility.

Our ultimate goal is to empower you to live life to the fullest, free from foot pain or discomfort. Whether you’re hoping to enjoy walks on the beach, chase after your grandchildren, or simply move through your day without foot pain, we’re here to help make that possible.

Don’t let foot problems hold you back from enjoying your golden years. Reach out to us at East Gosford Podiatry today. Discover how our tailored treatment plans can help reduce your foot pain and increase function, allowing you to continue doing the activities you love. Let us partner with you in the journey towards better foot health and improved quality of life. Call us today or book an appointment online – your feet will thank you!

We Accept Patients from all over the Central Coast

If you are in East Gosford and surrounding suburbs and are in need of a Podiatry appointment due to lower limb or feet issues you may need orthotics. Please contact our clinic on (02) 4325 0600

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(02) 4325 0600