Skip to content

We only get one pair of feet so it’s important to take good care of them. But many of us will develop some foot problems as we age, simply as a result of daily wear and tear.

Anyone who has experienced foot pain knows only too well how debilitating it can be. Over time, it can become a significant health issue because, if we can’t walk comfortably, we’re less likely to get out and about and take part in the social activities or daily exercise that is vital for our health and wellbeing.

1. Get checked

If you have a long-term condition, such as diabetes or arthritis your feet are particularly vulnerable. Check your feet regularly and ensure you attend check-ups as requested. If you notice any problems, report them to your GP as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to protect our feet and most common problems can be treated successfully by a chiropodist or podiatrist - there’s no difference between the two, but most now prefer to call themselves podiatrists.

'As we get older, an annual foot health check is as important as a sight or hearing test,' says Mike O'Neill, Consultant Podiatrist and spokesperson for the College of Podiatry.

'Conditions like diabetes or circulatory problems can all be picked up by looking at the feet and common problems like corns, cracked skin and ingrown toenails can be successfully treated.'

If you have foot related problems and want to see a health professional privately, make sure you check that they are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. The Council only registers professionals who meet their standards for training, professional skills and behaviour.

You can find a registered podiatrist on the Visit the Health and Care Professions Council.

2. Get the right footwear

On a day-to-day basis, there’s a lot we can do ourselves. First and foremost, it’s important to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes.

'Many people wear slippers if their feet are hurting, but this can make things worse as slippers encourage you to shuffle rather than letting the joints work as they should,' says Mike O'Neill.

'A pair of running shoes is the best option as these provide a good amount of shock absorption and stability and also support the arch.'

Good nail care can also help to keep feet feeling comfortable. Unfortunately, many of us find it hard to clip our toenails properly, partly because it can be hard to reach but also because they become tougher with age.

3. Look after your nails

However, nails that become too long can press against the end of the shoe and the constant pressure can cause soreness, infection or ulceration. Toenails that have been poorly cut can also become ingrown.

'If you’re struggling to cut your own nails, ask a family member for help as hacking at them could do more harm than good,' says Mike O'Neill.

If that isn’t an option, many local Age UKs offer toenail cutting services for people over the age of 50. This service operates from a number of clinics all over England and costs around £10 per visit.

Contact Age UK Advice on 0800 678 1174 to find the number of your local Age UK and ask them about the services they offer.

4. Keep feet moisturised

Finally, daily application of a moisturising lotion daily will help to keep feet feeling soft and supple.

'As we get older the skin on our feet starts to dry out, we lose the fatty pads that cushion the bottom of the feet, the joints start to creak and circulation is reduced,' says Mike O'Neill.

'As a result, the skin on the soles of our feet and heels becomes dry and nails become brittle and more difficult to manage.'

Words: Ceri Roberts

What Age UK does in your area

I got puffed out after 10 minutes, but as the weeks went by, I could feel myself getting stronger.

A small favour

All the information and advice we provide on the website is free and completely independent, as is our National Advice Line that is open 365 days a year.

But demand is going up. We are an ageing population and more people than ever are coming to us for support, which is why we need to ask for help.

If you are able to, just a small gift today could help us reach even more older people wherever the need is greatest.

Please support our work

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

Was this helpful?

Back to top