Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2003 , Vol 6, Issue 4
Çiğdem TÜZÜN, Canan TIKIZ
Celal Bayar Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Anabilim Dalı, Manisa Foot problems in elderly people are particularly important because of their direct relation with ambulation. They may significantly influence quality of life by exposing pain, morbidity, and functional disability. Furthermore, foot problems constitute one of the main risk factors for falling and postural instability which increase the mortality in the elderly. The rate of foot problems in the elderly is almost two times greater than that of the general population. The prevalence of foot problems, which tends to increase significantly with advanced age, may be attributable to the cumulative effect of chronic systemic diseases that affect the integrity of anatomic structures in the foot. Moreover, the increasing severity of foot problems in the elderly may be related to thinned skin, decreased vascularity, peripheral nerve damage and lifestyle changes. The most common foot problems in the elderly are nail disorders, fungal and bacterial infections, ulcerations, corn and callus formation, bunions, heel pain, metatarsalgia, claw and hammer toe, hallux rigidus, arthritis, and neuropathies. It is possible to prevent foot problems by applying a prudent self-care and convenient footwear. The main purpose of the foot treatment is to relieve pain and to correct the deformities. Although the conservative management is usually successful in the elderly, surgery may be beneficial in resistant cases. Beside early diagnosis, proper management and continuous foot care, community based preventive approach and educational programs concerning foot care are needed to overcome foot problems. Keywords : Foot problems, geriatrics, management, preventive approaches