What Causes Foot Pain in the Elderly?


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What Causes Foot Pain in the Elderly?

​Over a lifetime, feet carry us thousands of miles. It’s no wonder that many older adults experience foot pain. In addition to the wear and tear of a lifetime, there are many foot problems that can crop up. Being familiar with the changes in your older family member’s feet and the kinds of problems that can occur can help you to watch for issues that require medical attention.

How the Foot Changes

One of the biggest changes feet undergo with age is the loss of fat that provides padding. In younger people, there are stores of fat in the ball of the feet and in the heel. They act like shock absorbers, so feet don’t get sore as easily due to walking and standing. The loss of the fat pad can make fractures and bone bruises more likely. It can also throw off your aging relative’s balance.

Another change is in the circulation of blood to the feet. There are lots of things that can affect circulation, such as diabetes and blood clots. The reduced blood flow can cause foot pain because the soft tissues in the feet aren’t getting enough blood.

Common Foot Problems in Seniors

There are many foot problems that can be quite painful for seniors. In addition, they can impact mobility. When your aging relative’s feet hurt, they may be more inclined to move less, which could lead to muscle loss and a greater risk of falling. Some of the conditions that can cause foot pain in older adults are:

  • Dry Skin: Dry skin may seem like a minor problem, but it can lead to painful cracks and infections. To relieve and prevent dry skin, consider applying a moisturizer to the senior’s feet daily.
  • Arthritis: Seniors may suffer from various forms of arthritis that can affect the feet, such as osteoarthritis and gout. The most common joints affected are in the big toe and the ankle.
  • Flat Feet: The arches in the feet can begin to flatten out because of stretching ligaments. This can cause pain in the middle part of the foot as well as some swelling in the ankle and arch.
  • Toenail Changes: Toenails change with age, too. They often become brittle and thicker, which makes it harder to keep them trimmed. The changes in the toenails have to do with changing hormone levels.

If your older family member is having problems with their feet, a senior care provider can assist them. A senior care provider can offer daily foot care to keep the feet clean and the skin moisturized. A senior care provider can wash and dry feet, while also inspecting them for blisters, cracks, or sores that can become infected. In addition, when the older adult is experiencing foot pain, a senior care provider can walk with them to ensure they can get around safely and do not fall.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Littleton, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today. Call us at (303) 756-9322.

Tom Yetzer
Tom Yetzer

Tom is the owner of SYNERGY HomeCare of Denver, Colorado.

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