Seniors Foot Problems Causes & Symptoms
For Seniors feet tend to spread and lose the fatty pads that cushion the bottom of your feet. If you are carrying extra weight, the bones and ligaments take an extra beating. Also, any abnormalities that you were born with can become more pronounced or painful as your foot joints lose their flexibility and become more rigid with age. Poorly fitting shoes make foot problems worse and actually cause many of them. The skin of your feet also gets drier with age, so that infections can occur more easily.
Specific causes differ depending upon the particular foot problem, as follows:
This deformity of the foot may be an inherited trait but may also result from many years of friction due to ill-fitting footwear. Flat feet, gout, and arthritis also increase your chance of developing a bunion.
Corns and Calluses
Corns are caused by friction from poorly fitted shoes or socks or from toes rubbing against each other. Calluses are similar to corns, but develop on the ball or heel of your foot.
Hammertoes are caused by abnormal tension in the muscles and tendons around the toe joints, causing them to buckle or flex. Eventually the joint becomes rigid.
Ingrown toenails (usually on the big toe) are caused by inherited abnormalities, incorrect trimming of nails, injury to the toe, infection, or friction from poorly fitted shoes.
Abnormally thick, cracked, and yellowing toenails may be caused by fungal infections, friction from shoes, injuries or conditions such as diabetes or psoriasis.
Diabetic Foot Problems
You may have reduced sensation in your feet from diabetes, making it hard to realize that your foot is injured. Also, blood flow in your feet is impaired in diabetes, so infections can be harder to fight off.
Arthritic Foot Problems
Osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis are among the conditions that can cause severe foot pain.
A condition such as plantar fasciitis may be caused by poor foot mechanics, such as an overly flattened or overly arched foot. In either case, the fascia—a ligament running along the bottom of your foot—may become irritated and painful.
Painful heel spurs are small bone growths that appear when the ligament running along the sole of your foot tugs repeatedly on the heel bone.
Flat feet and its opposite—an abnormally high arch (claw foot or hollow foot)—are caused by an Achilles tendon (the vertical tendon behind the ankle) that is either too tight or too loose. These conditions are usually inherited, but flat feet may also develop after years of wearing high-heeled shoes. In this case, the condition is known as posterior tibia tendon dysfunction (PTTD). Flat feet are also linked to obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or the use of steroids.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
A nerve called the posterior tibialis nerve may get trapped, causing irritation and painful symptoms.
If you are obese, you may develop Achilles tendonitis from years of extra stress on the tendon. It is also associated with an inherited shortened Achilles tendon or from wearing high-heeled shoes. Sudden severe Achilles tendonitis or even a ruptured Achilles tendon may occur as a side effect of certain antibiotics (fluoroquinolones such as Levoquin or Cipro).
In this condition, thickened tissue wraps around the nerves that lead to your toes. It is usually due to overly tight shoes, arthritis, injury, or malformed bones. The result is nerve compression.