Six Foot Ailments to Watch Out For as We Age

Posted by Dana Cozzetto, DPM on 10/27/16 10:50 AM

Our aging population needs to be on the Old-Feet.jpglook-out for a few common foot ailments that can be either prevented or treated with proper medical care.


  1. Foot Sores or Ulcerations: As we age our skin gets thinner and sometimes blood thinners can make bruising a common problem. This puts us at risk for foot sores or ulcerations. These sores can also be commonly caused by pressure from sitting or lying in one place for too long. Having an open sore can lead to infection and pain and often these are treatable with offloading the area and local wound care.

  2. Gout: Gout is a condition resulting from improper metabolism of uric acid which can cause extreme redness, heat, and pain in the foot and ankle. The most common joint is the big toe joint. Males over 50 and post-menopausal women are at greatest risk.  If you take a water pill or diuretic you may also be at risk. Gout is preventable with diet changes and with certain medications. It is treated with medication and sometimes steroid injections.

  3. Peripheral Neuropathy: Neuropathy is decreased feeling in the feet and ankles. This is most commonly caused by diabetes but can be caused by many other things such as improper diet or vitamin deficiencies which are common in our aging population. Eating a balanced diet and controlling blood sugars can help. There are also medications to help with nerve pain that is often times associated with neuropathy.

  4. Peripheral Vascular Disease: Peripheral Vascular Disease or PVD is poor blood flow that is common in previous smokers or in patients with medical conditions such as atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus. Some treatment options include compression socks and medication in certain people. Sometimes surgery is required. A vascular doctor can evaluate the extent of blood flow and determine the best treatment.

  5. Fat Pad Atrophy: With aging, the fat on the bottom of the feet decreases and this can make bone prominences very sore when walking or standing. Treatment is wearing extra cushion in the shoes or using orthotics in the shoes. Talk to your health care provider about getting casted for custom orthotics from a podiatrist.

  6. Hammer Toes: The muscles in the feet can become weaker as we age and can lead to the toes curling. This can make wearing shoes harder and can cause pain in the ball of the foot or on the top of the toes when walking. Treatment can be as simple as pads, wider and deeper shoes, or surgery to straighten the toes. 

If you need a podiatrist or other physician, please use our Find A Doctor tool to locate a provider in your area.


Dr. Dana Cozzetto is a podiatrist with Mercy Medical Group in Carmichael. She is board certified in podiatric medicine, foot and ankle surgery and specializes in tendinitis, bunions, fractures, and sports-related injuries. For more information about Dr. Cozzetto, click here:

Topics: Health & Wellness, DHMG - Sequoia, DHMG - San Francisco, DHMG - Bakersfield, Mercy Medical Group, DHMG - Stockton, DHMG - Merced, Woodland Clinic, DHMG - Dominican, DHMG - Inland Empire, DHMG - Ventura County, DHMG - Northridge, Podiatry

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