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What Are the Top Causes of Foot Pain in the Elderly?

According to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, up to 80 percent of adults have some a condition that causes pain in the feet. The elderly are at an especially high risk of foot pain due to natural wear and tear of the joints as well as complications of diseases that are more common past age 65. Redondo Beach, CA, in-home elder care experts discuss some of the top causes of foot pain in seniors.


Bunions are one of the most common foot problems affecting adults, and they tend to develop more frequently in women and seniors. It’s estimated up to one-third of older Americans have a bunion, a painful deformation that causes a bony bump at the base of the big toe and forces the big toe’s joint to deviate toward the other toes. Bunions are usually hereditary, but tight shoes and arthritis can contribute to their development as well. Wearing roomy shoes with wide toe boxes and good arch support can help relieve pressure on the toe joint and reduce bunion pain.


Osteoarthritis gradually leads to stiffness and joint pain over time. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 50 percent of people in their 60s and 70s have arthritis-related foot pain. Also known as “wear and tear arthritis,” this disease can affect the hands, wrists, neck, knees, hips, and feet. Osteoarthritis can affect any of the 33 joints in the foot, but it usually begins in the big toe. If the deterioration of the joint cartilage is significant, the pain will be more severe. This disease cannot be prevented, but wearing supportive and roomy shoes and stretching the Achilles tendon daily can relieve the pain it causes in the feet.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common types of arthritis, impacting at least 2 percent of seniors in the U.S. This disease develops when the body’s immune system begins to attack the lining of the joints, which causes chronic inflammation, permanent joint damage, and pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, about 90 percent of people with RA develop symptoms in their feet or ankles at some point. Treatments for RA-related foot pain include over-the-counter pain relievers, biologics, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy occurs when high blood sugar damages nerve fibers in the body. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 25 percent of seniors in the U.S. have diabetes and are at risk of neuropathy due to poorly controlled blood sugar. Diabetic neuropathy usually causes nerve damage in the feet and legs, and its symptoms may include numbness or severe pain. Neuropathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes, but living a healthy lifestyle and controlling blood sugar can help prevent it.

If your senior loved one has a condition that causes foot pain and needs help accomplishing daily tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our hourly and live-in caregivers can provide transportation, offer timely medication reminders, assist with mobility, and help with a wide array of everyday activities. We also provide specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care Redondo Beach seniors and their families can count on. For more information, please call one of our experienced Care Managers today at (310) 504-0506.