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23 Most Common Foot Problems in Older Adults

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By: KURU Footwear

The U.S. population is slowly but surely graying. As we age, the importance of preserving our foot health becomes increasingly vital. However, foot health is often overlooked as a health priority or concern. Hardly anyone asks “What are common foot problems in older adults?”

Today, we’re going to change that! Below, we dive into why taking care of your feet is crucial and what elderly foot problems you need to watch out for as you grow older.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the common foot problems in elderly people is crucial in maintaining mobility and overall health. These conditions can range from minor issues like corns to more severe complications like arthritis.
  • Prevention is key in sustaining good foot health as you age. Simple steps such as wearing comfortable shoes, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular foot exams can make a significant difference.
  • Sudden foot pain in the elderly should not be ignored as it may signal underlying issues. Prompt medical interventions and lifestyle changes are essential to alleviate discomfort and prevent further complications.

Why Foot Health Matters in Aging

Many of us take our feet—and by extension, our foot health—for granted. However, as we grow older, our feet become increasingly more important.

The aging process can bring about changes in your foot structure, function, and your overall health—often leading to a variety of foot problems. As you age, maintaining healthy feet becomes more crucial—not just for your mobility, but also for maintaining your overall health and independence.

Elderly foot problems can lead to other health conditions or challenges, which can also lead to other more serious problems in the future. Some health risks associated with foot problems are:

  • Chronic pain
  • Limited mobility
  • Balance issues
  • Gait abnormalities
  • Risk of inactivity

Even just one or two of these can subsequently and significantly reduce your overall quality of life in your senior years. The associated risks we’ve mentioned are not just discomforts or inconveniences—they can be life-threatening, especially for older adults.

Foot problems significantly increase the likelihood of slips and falls, which are the leading cause of injury and death from injury among older adults in America.

Findings show that more than one in four adults aged 65 and up suffer from falls each year. As you continue to age, your risk of slipping, falling, and suffering from related accidents and complications only continues to rise.

Foot health is more than just a matter of comfort—it’s a matter of safety and longevity.

Top Foot Problems Faced by Older Adults

As you age, you might encounter a variety of foot problems, each with its own unique causes, symptoms, and treatments. From bunions to plantar fasciitis and ingrown toenails, the list can be extensive. Many of these issues can share similar symptoms, making it important to understand the specifics of each problem for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

Keep reading as we delve into the top 23 foot problems commonly faced by older adults—shedding light on their causes, distinctive symptoms, treatment options, and tips on how to keep feet healthy as you age. Make sure to download our resource guide to help you refresh your knowledge easily!

Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

Sore or painful heels is a common foot complaint, especially if you work a job that requires standing for long hours. It can happen due to a number of reasons, but the most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This happens when the plantar fascia—a band of tissue connected to your heel bone and running the length of the bottom of your foot—becomes inflamed. 

Plantar fascia heel pain is common among adults ages 50 and up, especially women, and affects nearly 10% of the US population. Flat feet, high arches, and obesity are other risk factors for plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms

  • Sharp, stabbing pain in the heel
  • Gradual worsening pain
  • Morning pain and stiffness or tightness
  • Swelling or tenderness of the heel
  • Increased heel pain after movement or activity

Prevention Tips

  • Wear supportive shoes, such as the KURU ATOM
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Perform regular feet, calf, and toe stretches
  • Let your feet rest in between activities
  • Avoid walking barefoot on tile or other hard floors

Treatment

  • Physical therapy or exercises for stretching and strengthening
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Night splints
  • Supportive shoes and orthotics
  • Corticosteroid injections or surgery for severe cases

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis—also called wear-and-tear arthritis or degenerative joint disease—is the most common kind of arthritis. The foot is one of the most common parts of our body where osteoarthritis develops due to the number of weight-carrying joints it has. 

Approximately 17% of adults above the age of 50 are affected by foot osteoarthritis. This chronic condition occurs when the protective cartilage in the joints gradually wears down, resulting in joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Having weight issues or other joint-related conditions, such as gout, can raise your risk of having osteoarthritis.

Symptoms

  • Pain and stiffness in foot joints
  • Reduced flexibility or difficulty moving the foot
  • Swelling around joints
  • Sensation of grinding or grating when moving
  • Bony growths or spurs at the affected joint

Prevention Tips

  • Regular low-impact exercise, such as swimming or cycling
  • Maintain healthy weight and blood sugar levels
  • Avoid excessive impact on your feet
  • Avoid high-heeled or tight shoes
  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes

Treatment

  • Pain relieving medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotics, shoe inserts, and supportive footwear
  • Braces, canes, or other assistive devices
  • Corticosteroid injections

Fat Pad Atrophy

Also known as heel fat pad syndrome, fat pad atrophy is the degeneration or thinning of your fat pad. This is the protective layer of fat that cushions, supports, and protects your heel. Fat pad atrophy is another common cause of heel pain, second only to plantar fasciitis. 

Findings show that about 30% of Americans who reach the age of 60 suffer from this condition. Factors such as the natural aging process, excess weight, or inadequate footwear can contribute to its development.

Symptoms

  • Bruise-like pain or tenderness in the middle of your heel
  • Sensation of walking on bones or feeling like there is no cushioning
  • Increased sensitivity to pressure or impact
  • Calluses or corns forming in the affected area
  • Greater pain when standing or walking for long hours

Prevention Tips

  • Wear shoes with sufficient cushioning and arch support
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Engage in regular foot exercises
  • Avoid standing or walking for prolonged periods
  • Always protect your feet when walking on hard or uneven surfaces

Treatment

  • Orthopedic footwear
  • Heel taping, heel cups, and shoe inserts
  • Physical therapy and exercises
  • Steroid injections
  • Fat grafting and surgical intervention

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Learn more about peripheral artery disease, a common foot problem in older adults.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem where narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. Primarily affecting the legs, PAD affects approximately 5% to over 10% of older American adults ages 50 to 70 years old, with rising prevalence of the foot issue with age. 

The condition develops when fatty deposits or plaque buildup in the leg arteries obstruct blood circulation, leading to discomfort or pain when walking. If left untreated, PAD can lead to critical limb ischemia and may even ultimately cause gangrene or tissue death of the toes and feet.

Symptoms

  • Burning pain in the feet and toes, particularly at night
  • Frequent skin or soft tissue infections in the feet and legs
  • Muscle weakness or fatigue
  • Numbness or coldness of the feet and legs
  • Toe and foot sores

Prevention Tips

  • Avoid or stop smoking
  • Watch your blood sugar levels
  • Engage in regular exercise
  • Avoid foods high in saturated fat
  • Manage blood pressure and cholesterol

Treatment

  • Medications, including antiplatelet drugs, blood pressure drugs, and cholesterol drugs, like statins
  • Angioplasty and stenting
  • Bypass surgery
  • Thrombolytic therapy
  • Lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise

Edema

Edema is the swelling of the ankles, feet, or legs. The condition is caused by an excessive buildup of fluid within the tissues of the affected body part. This fluid retention often results from an imbalance in the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, which can be triggered by various factors. 

Predominant causes generally include sitting or standing for lengthy periods, high sodium intake, pregnancy, obesity, and advanced age. It is estimated that approximately 19% to 20% of older adults in the U.S. have or had edema. Although often painless, edema can still cause discomfort and poor quality of life.

Symptoms

  • Puffiness or swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs
  • Skin that appears shiny or stretched
  • Heavy feeling of the legs
  • Indentations remaining in the skin after pressing on the swollen area
  • Difficulty moving the joint in the swollen area

Prevention Tips

  • Go on a low-salt diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid tight clothing around the thighs
  • Exercise your legs regularly
  • Elevate legs when sitting or lying

Treatment

  • Take diuretics or water pills
  • Wear compression stockings
  • Elevate and massage the affected area
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Engage in regular physical activity

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. It’s a common foot problem in athletes, often caused by repetitive or intense strain on the tendon. Achilles tendonitis has a 6% to 18% annual incidence rate

Aside from athletes, it is also commonly seen among older adults. The risk of developing this condition increases with age as the tendon weakens and becomes less flexible, making it more susceptible to injury.

Symptoms

  • Morning pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon
  • Severe pain, usually a day after working out
  • Thickening of the tendon
  • Insertional tendinitis or extra bone spur growth
  • Persistent swelling worsens throughout the day and with activity

Prevention Tips

  • Regular stretching of the calf muscles and Achilles tendons
  • Gradual increase physical activity
  • Choose shoes with good arch support and cushioning
  • Cross-train high- and low-impact exercises like running and biking
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Treatment

  • Orthotic devices and night splinting
  • Pain medications, like NSAIDs
  • Physical therapy exercises
  • Cortisone injections
  • Surgical intervention or tendon repair for severe cases
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Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a foot condition characterized by a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. About 30% to 33% of the general population live with this foot problem. It can cause sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot or make it feel as though you’re standing on a pebble in your shoe. 

The condition is often a result of wearing high heels or tight shoes that squeeze the toes together, creating pressure and irritation on the nerve. This is also a contributing factor why the condition is common among women. Age can also play a part in the development of Morton’s Neuroma as feet often widen and flatten.

Symptoms

  • Burning pain in the ball of your foot or between your toes, especially when walking
  • Numbness or tingling sensation of the toes
  • Feeling a lump at the bottom of the foot or as if there’s a pebble in your shoe
  • Swelling between your toes or in the ball of your foot

Prevention Tips

  • Wear shoes with a wide toe box and ample cushioning
  • Avoid wearing high heels or shoes with tight or pointed toes
  • Regularly exercise your feet
  • Use over-the-counter arch supports or foot padding
  • Maintain a healthy weight to minimize the pressure on your feet

Treatment

  • Wearing more appropriate footwear
  • Custom orthotics or shoe inserts
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Decompression and nerve removal surgery

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells, often developed on skin exposed to the sun. It can also occur on areas of your skin that are not ordinarily exposed to sunlight, such as your feet. 

Foot skin cancer is particularly concerning because it often goes unnoticed. According to experts, almost 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each day. Common causes may include prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds and a weakened immune system. Old age and a family history of cancer can increase your risk of this condition.

Symptoms

  • Changes in the size, color, or shape of a mole or spot on the foot
  • A sore on the foot that does not heal
  • Itching, tenderness, or pain in a spot on the foot
  • Redness or scaling of the skin on the foot
  • An unexplained growth or raised bump on the foot

Prevention Tips

  • Regularly check feet for changes in skin color or new growths
  • Limit exposure to sun during peak hours
  • Apply sunscreen on feet when outdoors
  • Wear protective footwear in sunny environments
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps

Treatment

  • Surgical removal of the cancerous cells
  • Topical medications to kill cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy to stop the growth of cancer cells
  • Immunotherapy to stimulate the body’s immune system against cancer cells

Ankle Sprains

Acute ankle sprains are highly common injuries, with around 80% of people sustaining one ankle sprain throughout their life. Sprains happen when you twist, roll, or awkwardly turn your ankle. This can stretch or tear the ligaments that hold your ankle bones together. It’s usually caused by falls, sudden twists, or a blow that forces your ankle out of its normal position, especially during physical activities. Wearing the wrong shoes, walking on uneven surfaces, or having conditions like osteoarthritis can also put you at greater risk for an ankle sprain.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Inability to put weight the affected foot
  • Mild to severe pain when putting weight on the foot
  • Limited range of motion

Prevention Tips

  • Strengthening exercises for ankle muscles
  • Regular balance workouts
  • Wearing supportive shoes
  • Warming up before physical activities
  • Avoiding uneven surfaces when possible

Treatment

  • Rest and elevate the affected foot
  • Apply ice to reduce swelling
  • Compress the ankle using bandages
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Physical therapy for rehabilitation

Stress Fractures

Learn more about stress fractures, a common foot problem in older adults.

Stress fractures are micro cracks in a bone. These typically occur over time due to repetitive force, often from overuse—such as repeatedly jumping up and down or running long distances. 

Common in the weight-bearing bones of the foot and lower leg, stress fractures are prevalent among athletes, especially those who take part in high-impact sports. Age-related changes can also contribute to stress fractures, as bones weaken with age and become more susceptible to damage. The condition is also more prevalent among patients who are overweight or have vitamin D insufficiency.

Symptoms

  • Pain that increases with weight-bearing activities
  • Tenderness to touch at a specific spot
  • Swelling on the top of the foot
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Pain that decreases with rest

Prevention Tips

  • Regularly engage in low-impact exercises
  • Ensure enough calcium and Vitamin D intake
  • Wear right fitting, supportive footwear
  • Gradually increase physical activities
  • Get adequate rest between workouts

Treatment

  • Rest and refrain from weight-bearing activities
  • Wear a protective boot or cast
  • Use crutches for mobility
  • Surgery, only in rare or severe cases

Claw Toe

Claw toe is a foot condition where your toes bend into a claw-like position, with the first toe joint pointing up and the second toe joint going down. This makes the toe dig down into the soles of your shoes and create painful calluses. 

This condition can be caused by nerve damage associated with diabetes or alcoholism, which weakens the muscles in your foot. Other common causes include wearing shoes that are too tight, injuries, or even genetics. It’s more likely to occur in older adults, especially if you have other medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or cerebral palsy.

Symptoms

  • Toes bent into a claw-like position
  • Corns or calluses on the toes
  • Pain when wearing shoes
  • Difficulty walking
  • Inability to straighten the toes

Prevention Tips

  • Wear comfortable and wide, roomy shoes
  • Avoid high heels
  • Exercise feet and toes regularly
  • Control blood sugar if diabetic

Treatment

  • Regular toe exercises and stretches
  • Padding or taping the foot
  • Orthotic shoe inserts and arch supports
  • Wearing wide, supportive footwear
  • Surgery, in severe cases

Hammer Toe

Hammer toe is a foot deformity where your toe has an abnormal bend in its middle joint. It generally affects the second, third, or fourth toes and is common in older adults. Hammer toe primarily results from wearing ill-fitting shoes, particularly those with high heels or narrow toe boxes. 

However, Hammer toe can also be due to muscle imbalances, which can occur in conditions like stroke or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. If left untreated, hammer toe can cause additional complications like bunions, corns, and calluses.

Symptoms

  • Bent toe, resembling a hammer
  • Pain or discomfort in the toes
  • Corns or calluses
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty moving the affected toe

Prevention Tips

  • Wear shoes spacious toe boxes
  • Avoid shoes with high heels
  • Perform regular foot exercises

Treatment

  • Switching to more appropriate footwear
  • Toe exercises and stretches
  • Orthotic devices or corn pads
  • Tendon lengthening surgery
  • Arthrodesis or joint fusion surgery

Fungal Infections

Fungal foot infections are common yet often overlooked foot problems in the elderly. An estimated 50% of adults ages 60 and up contract some form of fungal foot infection. These infections result from microscopic fungi that thrive in warm and moist environments, such as the areas between your toes. 

Common examples include athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) and toenail fungus or (onychomycosis). They typically arise in people who have been in communal bathing areas, wear tight footwear, or have weakened immune systems. As such, older adults are particularly susceptible due to physiological changes that come with aging.

Symptoms

  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Peeling or cracking skin
  • Redness or blisters
  • Thick, discolored toenails
  • Unpleasant foot odor

Prevention Tips

  • Wash feet thoroughly and practice good foot hygiene
  • Keep feet clean and dry
  • Avoid barefoot walking in public areas
  • Use antifungal powder
  • Clean the inside of your shoes with disinfectant wipes

Treatment

  • Antifungal medications, like clotrimazole or fluconazole
  • Good foot hygiene
  • Topical creams or ointments

Flat Feet

Flat feet—also known as fallen arches—are a common condition affecting 30% of the population. It occurs when the foot’s arch doesn’t develop properly or collapses, causing the entire foot to touch the floor. This issue can be congenital or it can develop over time due to aging, injury, or wearing shoes that lack proper arch support. 

Flat feet can occur in both children and adults, but its prevalence increases with age—especially among those who are overweight or obese—due to the added pressure on the feet.

Symptoms

  • Feet tire easily
  • Painful or sore feet, especially in the arch, ankle, or heel
  • Changes in gait due to foot or leg misalignment
  • Toe drift or toes point outward
  • Back or general muscle pain and leg cramps

Prevention Tips

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Wear shoes with proper arch support
  • Avoid prolonged standing or walking

Treatment

  • Pain medications like NSAIDs
  • Orthotic devices
  • Physical therapy
  • Supportive shoes
  • Surgery, in severe cases
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Bursitis

Bursitis refers to the inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion your joints. It often occurs due to repetitive stress or overuse. 

However, age is also a significant factor, making it common among older adults. Conditions such as arthritis, gout, or infections can also trigger bursitis. It usually affects joints that perform frequent movements, like your shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and the one in your heel—making it a prevalent foot issue in the elderly.

Symptoms

  • Intense heel pain
  • Redness and swelling
  • Sore and stiff joints
  • Pain increases with movement or pressure
  • Limited motion or inability to move the joint

 Prevention Tips

  • Regular stretching exercises
  • Avoid repetitive activities
  • Use padding when kneeling or leaning

Treatment

  • Use crutches, canes, and similar tools
  • Apply ice to reduce inflammation
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Steroid injections, in severe cases
  • Avoiding strenuous activities that greatly use the affected joint

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs—or osteophytes—are bony projections that form along bone edges, often in joints and the spine. They typically occur due to the joint damage associated with osteoarthritis. As you age, the cartilage protecting your bones wears down, causing bone-on-bone contact that can spur these growths. 

Although bone spurs can happen to anyone, the condition is more prevalent in older adults, especially those over 60. Even at around 50 years old, nearly 60% to 80% of men and women, respectively, develop bone spurs.

Symptoms

  • Sharp, stabbing pain in the foot
  • Gradual increase in pain over time
  • Hard lump felt under the skin
  • Swelling, tenderness, and redness
  • Difficulty walking or discomfort in shoes

 Prevention Tips

  • Regular foot exercises
  • Wearing well-fitted, comfortable shoes
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Taking breaks during long periods of standing
  • Wearing shoe inserts if you are flat-footed

Treatment

  • Wear shoes with arch support or get inserts
  • Undergo physical therapy
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Practice foot-strengthening exercises
  • Bone spur removal surgery

Gout

Gout—a painful form of arthritis—is a condition that typically affects older adults, especially men who are over age 40. The prevalence of gout has gone up over the years, affecting almost 4% of all U.S. adults or nearly 8.3 million people. 

It is characterized by sudden attacks of severe pain, often in the big toe. This condition is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body, which forms sharp, needle-like crystals in the joints leading to inflammation and intense discomfort.

Symptoms

  • Intense joint pain, especially in the large toe
  • Redness, swelling, and tenderness in the joints
  • Inflammation and discomfort
  • Stiffness or limited range of motion
  • Feeling as if the affected joint is set on fire

Prevention Tips

  • Limit consumption of alcohol and sugary drinks
  • Limit intake of high-purine food, like shellfish and red meat
  • Make sure to drink enough water
  • Regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight
  • Regular medical check-ups to monitor uric acid levels

Treatment

  • Take NSAIDs and gout medication, like colchicine
  • Take prescribed medication to lower uric acid levels
  • Apply ice to affected area during a flare-up
  • Elevate the affected foot to reduce swelling
  • Consider corticosteroids for severe attacks

Diabetic Foot Ulcer

A diabetic foot ulcer is a common complication of diabetes. It’s a type of open sore that typically occurs on the bottom of the foot. High blood sugar levels over time can lead to nerve damage and poor circulation, which makes the skin vulnerable to breaking down and developing sores. 

Although anyone can develop this complication, it is more common among men, African Americans, and Hispanics. There is also a 64% higher prevalence of diabetic foot ulcers among the elderly.

Symptoms

  • Pain and redness in the foot
  • Redness, warmth, or swelling around a wound
  • Foul-smelling pus or discharge
  • Black tissue or gangrene around the ulcer
  • Slow-healing or non-healing sores

Prevention Tips

  • Regular foot inspections for cuts, blisters, or sores
  • Daily foot hygiene, including washing and drying
  • Wearing well-fitted shoes and socks
  • Maintaining blood sugar levels
  • Regular check-ups with a podiatrist

Treatment

  • Application of wound dressings
  • Antibiotics for infection control
  • Blood sugar level management
  • Surgical debridement
  • Amputation, but only for severe cases
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Bunions

Bunions—also known as hallux valgus—are bony protrusions that result from a misaligned big or little toe, causing it to deviate towards the other toes. 

They are the result of prolonged pressure and imbalance on the joint which leads to misalignment. This foot problem is common among older adults. One study noted a 36% prevalence among individuals ages 56 and older. In particular, bunions are common in women due to wearing ill-fitting footwear such as high heels or pointy-toed shoes.

Symptoms

  • Red, swollen bump on the outer edge of your big toe
  • Persistent or intermittent pain
  • Restricted movement of your big toe
  • Corns, calluses, and hammer toes
  • Difficulty wearing some styles of shoes

Prevention Tips

  • Avoid tight, narrow shoes with pointed toes
  • Wear shoes that have at least half an inch of space beyond your longest toe
  • Use padded shoe inserts to evenly distribute pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on your feet
  • Regular exercises to keep your toes and foot joints flexible

Treatment

  • Use bunion pads or taping
  • Wear prescription orthotic devices
  • Take pain relievers or corticosteroids
  • Wear footwear with deep, wide toe boxes
  • Surgery for severe cases

Calluses

Calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that form on your feet due to repeated friction or pressure. They are particularly prevalent among older adults, affecting one out of three people aged 65 and older

Athletes and people who spend a lot of time on their feet are also prone to calluses. They typically develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, and on your toes. Common causes include wearing shoes that are too tight, not wearing socks, or walking barefoot regularly.

Symptoms

  • Thick, hard patches of skin
  • Rough or bumpy texture
  • Dull or yellowish color
  • Flattened or less sensitive area on the foot
  • Discomfort or pain under the skin’s surface

Prevention Tips

  • Wear well-fitting shoes; avoid high heels and shoes with thin soles
  • Regularly moisturize your feet to keep the skin soft
  • Always wear socks with shoes to reduce friction
  • Use padded insoles or toe separators
  • Limit time spent barefoot

Treatment

  • Apply salicylic acid on the callus
  • Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently remove hardened skin
  • Over-the-counter medicated pads
  • Use prescription orthotics to redistribute pressure
  • Surgery or laser treatment for persistent cases

Corns

Corns are small, hard patches—similar to calluses—that form on your feet due to excessive pressure. They usually develop on bony areas or between your toes, often caused by ill-fitting shoes or foot deformities

Unlike calluses, corns are smaller and often painful. They tend to develop on parts of the foot that don’t bear weight, particularly areas where skin rubs against the shoe. Corns are more common in older adults, particularly in those with arthritis or other conditions that cause changes to the foot shape.

Symptoms

  • Hard, thickened skin area
  • Round, cone-shaped bump
  • Pain or tenderness under the skin
  • Flaky, dry or waxy skin
  • Redness and inflammation around the corn

Prevention Tips

  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes
  • Keep feet dry to prevent friction
  • Use non-medicated corn pads for cushioning
  • Get regular foot checkups, especially if you have diabetes or arthritis
  • Properly trim toenails to prevent pressure on the toes

Treatment

  • Apply salicylic acid
  • Soak the corn in warm water then use a pumice stone or file to remove corn
  • Wear prescription shoe inserts and well-fitting shoes
  • Antibiotics, if corn becomes infected
  • Surgical removal for persistent corns

Cracked Heels

Learn more about cracked heels, a common foot problem in older adults.

Cracked heels—also known as heel fissures—are a common foot problem affecting 20% of all U.S. adults above 21 years, or over 44 million Americans. It’s particularly prevalent among women, as well. Cracked heels are often the result of dry skin or excessive weight bearing on the feet. 

Health conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and psoriasis can also contribute to this. Since aging naturally tends to decrease moisture levels in your skin, this makes older adults more susceptible to cracked heels.

Symptoms

  • Dry, hard, thickened skin around the rim of the heel
  • Visible cracks on the skin surface
  • Red or dark patches under cracks
  • Flaky patches
  • Pain while walking or applying pressure on the heel

Prevention Tips

  • Moisturize daily with a foot-specific lotion
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Wear shoes with a good heel support
  • Avoid standing in one place for too long
  • Use a pumice stone to gently exfoliate your feet regularly

Treatment

  • Apply a thick moisturizer, such as petroleum jelly
  • Wear silicone heel cups to lock in moisture
  • Prescription creams or ointments provided by a doctor
  • In severe cases, your doctor may recommend special therapeutic shoes
  • Some may require professional heel care by a podiatrist

Ingrown Toe Nails

Ingrown toenails—a common issue often seen in older adults—occur when the edge or corner of the nail grows into the skin surrounding the toe, leading to pain and discomfort. It usually affects the hallux or big toe nail. This can be caused by improperly trimmed nails, tight shoes, or existing nail damage. Although this foot problem is rarely serious, it can also potentially lead to a serious infection if not treated. Ingrown nails can affect anyone, but those with diabetes or circulatory issues are particularly at risk due to their impaired healing capacity.

Symptoms

  • Redness and swelling around the nail
  • Pain and tenderness in the toe along one or both sides of the nail
  • Extra skin or tissue growing over the nail
  • Pus discharge from the red, swollen area
  • Nail growing into the flesh of the toe

Prevention Tips

  • Redness and swelling around the nail
  • Pain and tenderness in the toe along one or both sides of the nail
  • Extra skin or tissue growing over the nail
  • Pus discharge from the red, swollen area
  • Nail growing into the flesh of the toe

Treatment

  • Soak the foot in warm water three to four times daily
  • Use dental floss or cotton under the edge of the ingrown nail
  • Lifting the nail and placing a splint under it
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Surgical removal of part or the entire nail for persistent cases

Take the First Step Toward Healthy Aging Feet With KURU

Now that we’ve walked through the most common foot issues older adults face, it’s clear that foot health is an integral part of aging gracefully. Statistically, over 77% of American adults experience chronic foot pain, and findings show that the pain often gets worse as you age.

Your feet are the foundation of your mobility, and maintaining their health is critical to enhancing your quality of life. It directly impacts your overall well-being and independence. Aside from comfort, learning how to care for aging feet can greatly reduce your risk of slips and falls, as well as contribute to an active and fulfilling lifestyle. After all, you want to be able to enjoy your senior years to the fullest.

Learning what are the common foot problems in adults is just the first step. Taking active steps to prevent them and take better care of your feet is the next one.

Foot problems in older adults may be common, but most—if not all—can often be prevented or treated effectively. If you take a look at the top foot problems that we discussed, almost all of them have one thing in common—experts recommend wearing supportive footwear as a key element of both prevention and treatment strategies.

Supportive shoes, such as KURU’s ATOM Slip-On, play a crucial role in elderly foot care. With their well-designed cushion and arch support, KURU footwear provides the comfort and protection your older feet need. Whether you work long hours on your feet, love to spend time in the great outdoors, or simply need a pair of trusty running shoes, there is a pair of KURU shoes for you.

By choosing footwear like KURU that combines comfort with functionality, you’re taking a significant step toward keeping your feet healthy as you age.

Remember, you need to make sure you take the right steps to protect and care for your feet while you’re still young to ensure they’ll carry you safely through your golden years.

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