Aging baby boomers’ feet are like cars. The more miles you have on them, the more
things can go wrong or wear out.”
- Dr. Michael A. Sherwin, Family Foot Care Podiatrist


By the age of 70, the average person will have walked the equivalent of four times around the globe (that’s just under 100,000 miles!). It’s hardly surprising then that foot pain affects approximately one in four older people. As we age, our feet begin to show the strain of a lifetime of use so it’s important to learn how to properly care for them. This will ensure that they can stay happy and healthy in the long-run.

Why Are Older Adults More at Risk of Foot Problems?

Seniors are more likely to experience foot issues for a number of reasons. Firstly, your feet tend to lose cushioning over the years while the skin and nails on your feet become drier, even brittle. What’s more, poor circulation (a common issue among older adults) can cause foot sores to heal more slowly.

Women walking in yellow sandals

Why is Foot Care Important for Older Adults?

One of the most important means of transportation and independence protection in older age is often overlooked: the health of your feet and ankles.” – Harvard Health

Issues with your feet can be an early indicator of diabetes and arthritis, as such it’s essential to pay attention to your feet as you age. Taking care of your feet can help to boost your circulation. Another major benefit of foot care is that it can help to enhance your balance while also decreasing the risk of falling. This is critical as slips and falls are among the leading causes of injury and death for those over 70. What’s more, well-maintained feet help you to stay mobile and independent as you get older.

Common Foot Problems for Seniors

  • Bunions
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoes
  • Heel Pain
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Fallen arches

Warning Signs

See your doctor or a foot specialist right away if you notice:

  • The skin on your feet or legs changes colour
  • A change in the shape of your foot
  • Reduced sensitivity to pain or temperature
  • Unusual coldness, cramps, numbness, tingling or discomfort
  • Pain when you walk that stops when you rest
  • A sore on your foot that gets infected or doesn’t heal

Top Tips for Foot Care

The Do’s:

  1. Do examine your feet regularly for any changes or irregularities.
  2. Do wash your feet daily with warm water and mild soap.
  3. Do dry well after washing, especially between the toes.
  4. Do moisturise with a small amount of lotion to prevent dryness, cracking, and itchiness.
  5. Do stretch your feet every day.
  6. Do elevate your feet on a stool to aid circulation while sitting.
  7. Exercise regularly by walking and by practicing foot-specific exercises.

 The Don’ts:

  1. Don’t soak your feet for any period longer than ten minutes, or else your skin will dry out and start to crack.
  2. Don’t sit cross-legged for extended periods as this may cut off circulation.
  3. Don’t go barefoot indoors, as this can increase your risk of falling by up to 10%.
  4. Don’t wear badly-fitting shoes.
  5. Don’t wear tight socks.
  6. Don’t smoke as this can decrease the blood circulation to your feet.

 Footwear for Seniors

The shoes you wear everyday can have a direct impact on the health of your feet and your body. Poorly-fitting and badly-designed footwear have been linked to a wide range of health conditions including back problems, joint pain and impaired balance. Therefore, as we get older it’s important to wear good quality shoes that have ample cushioning and offer good support. Feet can widen as you age so avoid shoes that put pressure on your feet, such as tight or high-heeled shoes. You should also keep your feet fresh by wearing clean, dry socks every day and by frequently switching up your footwear.

Take a look at the infographic guide below to find out more about foot health and care for older adults!