Foot care for older people

You're more prone to foot problems like corns, blisters and foot infections in later life as the skin becomes thinner and less elastic.  But painful or uncomfortable feet aren't a natural part of ageing, and can be alleviated.

Foot problems in older people

If you’re having trouble looking after your feet, you're not alone. Age UK reports that nearly one in three older people can’t cut their own toenails.

Foot care problems tend to happen if you're less mobile than you used to be, particularly if you have difficulty bending down. Poor eyesight, can also make it harder for you to look after your feet.

How to look after your feet

Your feet will remain in better condition, if you have a regular foot routine. This includes:

  • cutting and filing toenails and keeping them at a comfortable length
  • smoothing and moisturising dry and rough skin
  • checking for cracks and breaks in the skin and inflammation such as blisters
  • looking for signs of infection like nail fungus or other obvious early problems, and seeking professional advice
  • choosing suitable socks and footwear
  • keeping your feet clean, dry, mobile, comfortable and warm. Bedsocks are a good idea

If it's difficult for you to follow this routine yourself, see a professional chiropodist/podiatrist for help.

Depending on where you live, it may be possible for you to have routine chiropody/podiatry on the NHS but this is not the general rule.

If you don't qualify for NHS treatment or you would prefer to pay privately for treatment, contact the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists to find a registered podiatrist in your area. Make sure you ask about the cost before you agree to go ahead with treatment.

Find out how a podiatrist can help.

Medical foot problems

If you have a specific problem with your feet, see your GP. You don't have to put up with pain and discomfort in your feet simply because you're getting older.

Most foot problems can be treated, which means you will be in less pain and able to move around better.

Find out more about how to look after your feet.

Page last reviewed: 17/08/2013

Next review due: 17/08/2015

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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

stephmays said on 30 September 2013

I look after my elderly mother and mother-in-law, both of whom are aged 84. Both are registered with the podiatry team run by Gt Yarmouth and Waveney PCT. However, my Mum who has mobility issues is seen by the team on an 8 weekly basis, whilst my mother-in-law who still walks unaided although she has hammer toes on both feet. She is totally unable to cut her own toenails is only seen on a 20 week basis. As a result, she has to pay a podiatrist privately to keep her nails in trim, which is expensive for her on a pension. The podiatry team in my area specifically advise that they are not there just to cut people's toenails!

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CrossChrissyCross said on 15 June 2013

Have you ever heard of cedarsoles made from fresh smelling cedar wood? The cedar wood absorbs the sweat. Moreover it has antibacterial characteristics - so it really protects from getting smelly feet. Because foot bacteria is the the reason for that. Foot care is very important.

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Healthy feet in old age

As you get older, you might not be able to look after your feet as well as you used to. A podiatric surgeon describes the problems that bad foot care can cause and where to get help with foot care.

Media last reviewed: 14/05/2013

Next review due: 14/05/2015

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