For older adults, it’s very important to take good care of their feet so that they can remain mobile, independent and doing the things
they love for as long as possible. Due to the natural effects of ageing, however, this can become difficult. This is why podiatry plays a
vital role in supporting seniors to optimise their foot health and their quality of life.
Over time, the feet naturally go through a lot of changes:
- The skin progressively loses its natural elasticity and becomes dry, thin and weak
- Bones become more brittle and lose strength
- The fat pads on the bottoms of our feet dissipate, making bones more prominent and less well protected
- Our muscles lose strength
- Our joints become less mobile and more stiff
- Our balance and stability declines, posing a falls risk
- The incidence of calluses, blisters, corns and infections increases
- Conditions such as osteoarthritis and diabetes can pose significant restrictions or dangers to the feet
Ultimately, this means that the risk of pain or injury of an older adult significantly increases, and without professional help, may quickly
lead to the overall degradation of their health and well-being.
podiatrists see and help with a wide range of foot and leg problems in older adults, that range from skin and nail conditions, to
biomechanical issues and joint pain. A few common problems that we help with include:
Corns: these are small, hard areas
of skin often present on the bottom or sides of the feet that can feel like walking on a painful pebble in your shoe. Corns can also develop
between the toes.
Calluses: calluses are also areas
of hard skin on the bottom or sides of the feet that develop from pressure or friction (rubbing). Unlike corns, calluses tend to cover a
wider area and stay superficial without protruding into the deeper layers of the foot.
Ingrown toenails: ingrown
toenails occur where the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, inflammation and often bleeding or discharge.
Ingrown toenails can make walking, wearing shoes and daily life very uncomfortable.
Bunions: a bunion is a bony bulge on the
inside of the foot at the big toe joint. We often see bunions becoming more pronounced in older adults, oftentimes to the point where it
becomes difficult to wear shoes comfortably or find styles that fit well.
Hammertoes: A hammertoe is a change in the shape of a toe where it begins to point down from the centre of the toe. As the
‘bend’ becomes more pronounced, it can rub against the top of the shoe and lead to painful corns, calluses or blisters.
Thickened toenails: due to the ageing process or damage to the toenails over many years, many older adults experience
thickening of their toenails that can make it difficult to trim their nails, can feel uncomfortable, and can make it more painful to wear
closed-in shoes when they press on the nails.
Fungal nail infections:
when nail fungus takes hold of a toenail, it starts to produce a range of changes to the nail plate including the nail turning brittle,
flaky, thick, discoloured, pungent and more.
Heel pain: heel pain from sources like
plantar fasciitis and the degeneration of the fat pad at the bottom of the heel can make staying mobile and maintaining an active lifestyle
much harder as we get older.
Diabetes: diabetes can have
several effects on the feet that can put a person’s feet at risk. This includes impairing circulation to the feet, and reducing
sensation (the ability to feel) around the feet. This means that you may sustain a cut or injury to the feet and be unable to detect it, so
you don’t know that you need to take extra care to let it heal. With a reduced healing rate due to the circulation, this makes you
more vulnerable to infections. This is why diabetic foot ulcers are one of the most common complications of diabetes.
Arthritis: having arthritis affecting your joints can be
extremely painful, as well as limit your mobility, quality of life and ability to stay independent. We help you manage your symptoms, reduce
pain and improve comfort when you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and other types of arthritides.
Neuroma: a Morton’s neuroma
describes the inflammation of the tissue that surrounds a nerve in the foot, causing it to thicken and become painful. It occurs between the
long bones of the foot (metatarsals), most commonly between the third and fourth toes around the ball of the foot.
Balance and falls issues: natural changes in our muscle strength, flexibility and proprioception over time as we age can
lead to a great risk of falls and general issues with balance. This is a big area of focus for our team here at The Feet People, as we
understand the risks, dangers and long-term consequences to your health and wellbeing from a fall. Learn how podiatrists are shown to reduce
the rate of elderly falls by 36% here.
We understand how important it is to be able to keep doing the activities you enjoy as you grow older, and stay as mobile as possible. We
offer a wide range of treatments to provide the best care for older feet. Some of these include:
Relieving pain from many conditions ranging from arthritis to wounds and post-surgical recovery using MLS
Toenail care - including trimming thick, hard nails, as
well as reducing nail thickness to help you feel more comfortable in your shoes
- Callus and corn removal
Athlete’s foot and fungal
- Ingrown toenail treatment
Diabetic foot health assessment and management strategies
to help you avoid complications like infections and ulcers
- Falls risk assessment with various management strategies to reduce your risk of falls
- Off-loading high pressure, prominent areas to improve comfort when walking (including ulcers)
- Decreasing pain and improving comfort in arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout
- Assisting in the best shoe selection specific to your feet and foot problems
Custom footwear modifications to help improve your
mobility, comfort, and help manage various foot problems
- Providing expert advice on caring for your feet and managing any problems that you are experiencing
Expert orthotic prescription to manage a range of
conditions, as well as support your foot biomechanics and function
Keryflex nail restoration to restore the
appearance of your toenails to a healthy and natural appearance
Your first appointment with us will take a comprehensive look into the nature of your problem and the best approach to management. We have
two distinct appointment types that you may opt for:
Skin and nail care appointment:
this is for anyone whose primary concern is related to their toenails and the skin on their feet, such as thick or difficult-to-cut
toenails, nail infections, ingrown nails, corns, calluses and more. Here, we’ll assess your feet and discuss the problems you’re
experiencing, and start treatment immediately - such as removing your corns and trimming your nails.
Biomechanical assessment: this is for anyone who is experiencing lower limb pain unrelated to skin and nail concerns, such
as heel pain, pain at the ball of your foot, knee pain, shin splints and more. In this appointment, we’ll complete a thorough
assessment and get down to the root cause of the problems, creating a comprehensive management plan for your recovery.
We also offer diabetes foot health assessments and falls risk assessments. If you’re unsure about
the best appointment type for you, simply give our clinics a call and our reception team will be happy to help.
How To Care For Aging Feet
Exercise regularly. Exercise promotes circulation and maintaining our strength, mobility and flexibility - even from something as simple as a
- Wash and dry feet well daily, including drying well between the toes to prevent moisture from becoming trapped
- Check your feet regularly for any problems, and alert your podiatrist or doctor to anything you find
- Keep your toenails well trimmed
If you begin to have trouble reaching your feet to trim your toenails or check their health, book an appointment with your podiatrist every
Ensure your shoes are well fitted with adequate depth and width for the toes. Having good, supportive shoes minimises their risk of damage
to the feet
- Moisturise your feet daily, ideally after showering and before bed
- Avoid walking around with bare feet, opt for slippers inside the home