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
  • wearing 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.

Foot care on the NHS

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.

NICE guidance recommends that footcare services related to long term conditions such as diabetes, peripheral arterial disease and rheumatoid arthritis should be available on the NHS.

It's less likely that you will be eligible for footcare on the NHS if you do not have a long-term condition or a specific foot problem, such as a bunion, that is hindering your mobility.

If you don't qualify for NHS treatment or you would prefer to pay privately for treatment, contact the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists or 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: 21/09/2015

Next review due: 21/09/2017

Ratings

How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 123 ratings

All ratings

29  ratings
23  ratings
20  ratings
10  ratings
41  ratings

Add your rating

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: 27/04/2015

Next review due: 27/04/2017

Diabetes and feet

Foot health is especially important for people with diabetes. Find out how to take care of your feet and when to get help

Women's health 60-plus

Healthy lifestyle information and advice for women aged 60 and over

Men's health 60-plus

Healthy lifestyle information for men aged 60 and over

Getting help from the podiatrist

Taking care of your feet is essential. Here's how podiatrists and chiropodists can help

Foot health

How to keep your feet healthy and choose the right sports shoes, plus what to do if you have smelly feet