After your feet walked thousands of kilometres through your life, they can eventually wear down. But there are ways to keep your feet healthy as you age – through proper maintenance, care and regular check-ups.


What happens to feet as they age?

As you age, you can lose cushioning and soft tissue fat in the pads of your heels and balls of your feet, near your toes. Like the skin on your face, there is also a loss of elasticity in the skin
on your feet, making it thinner and more vulnerable.

Bone deformities such as bunions, arthritis, and difficulties undertaking basic foot care can lead to foot health issues and sometimes an increased risk of falls. Falls in older age can
sometimes have drastic consequences.

Nails also become more brittle, thicker and harder, making them difficult to trim and more prone to ingrown toenails, fungal breakouts and other infections.

Can foot problems be improved?

For older people, most foot problems can be improved by regular maintenance and care, keeping body weight down, shoe modification and use of cushioned insoles.

Some older people have difficulty reaching their feet or may have poor eyesight. This can make regular foot maintenance a challenge and may require assistance through a family member or a podiatrist.

It is also important to have your feet measured frequently as the bones in your feet change with age, this way you can ensure you choose shoes that fit well and are comfortable.

Taking good care of your feet as you age is good for your foot health as it helps you stay active and mobile.


When should you see a podiatrist?

Your feet are mirrors of your health. Warning signs of health conditions can be dry skin, brittle nails, burning and tingling sensations in your feet, or feelings of cold, numbness, and
discolouration. If these occur, seeing a podiatrist will help to pinpoint the cause. Regular check-ups with your podiatrist are recommended, especially if you cannot look after your feet yourself and you have no one to help you.


Looking after ageing feet patient information
An APodA member resource © Australian Podiatry Association 2023