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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.

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.

Article provided by NHS Choices

See original on NHS Choices