Foot Health

5 Most Common Foot and Ankle Problems in the Patients Over the Age of 60

We use our feet over our lifetime, so it’s not surprising that many people develop foot issues as they age. These are 5 of the most common issues.

Dr. Hassan Portrail
Dr. Mohammed Hassan
13 April 2022
Elderly woman with foot problems

Some foot problems are more common than others– learning about the signs and reasons for those conditions allows you to keep away from doing extra damage on your feet as you grow old.

Here are 5 not unusual foot issues for the ones over 60 and a way to treat them.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the condition where the pain is present at the heel bone and often extends up to and around the arch.  It happens due to inflammation at the junction of the bone and soft tissue interface.  Also occurs due to repetitive motion, starting new activities, and recent weight gain.  Most plantar fascia pain is self-resolving, meaning patients should feel relief with home remedies and some conservative treatments such as icing, stretching, changes in shoewear, use of NSAIDs, etc. A cortisone injection into the fascia may be required to relieve inflammation and pain and allow the patient to resume normal activities. When pain does not improve, we must consider alternative options, such as extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which includes the use of high-energy sound waves to target the tender area under the foot. The high frequency of sound waves generates an area where the inflammation can begin to heal. This method has the advantage of requiring no incisions and having a very high patient satisfaction rate. This method has the advantage of requiring no incisions and patients could start walking immediately. Another treatment option for non-healing plantar fasciitis pain is fasciotomy, which involves making a small incision and cutting the fascia’s most medial band. This approach has a rapid recovery time and a high success rate, however, the patient is expected to be non-weight bearing in a cast for a few weeks. 


Bunions arise when the joint of your big toe shifts out of place due to pressure, resulting in a bulging, bony bump on the big toe. Small bunions, known as bunionettes, can form on the fifth toe, even though they are most common on the big toe joint. You’ll know if you have a bunion because you’ll see (and feel!) swelling, redness, or discomfort around your big toe joint, thickened skin underneath your big toe, and calluses on your second toe as a result of overlapping and persistent foot pain. Treatments such as over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, bunion pads and splints, and comfortable shoes can help in the short term, but If bunions are uncomfortable, the only method to get rid of them is to get surgery. Bunions do not always require surgery. Patients who have continuous discomfort that interferes with their day-to-day activities are more likely to require surgery.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinction between the two. A corn is a thickened skin circle that appears on the toes, between the toes, and on the tips of the toes. A callus is a hard, scaly area of skin that grows on the balls of the foot or the back of the heel and is usually yellow. 

Improperly fitting shoes are the most common cause of corns and calluses. Shoes that are too tight can pinch the foot; shoes that are too big can rub the foot; and some styles, particularly high heels, can put excessive strain on certain areas of the foot. If over-the-counter creams and treatments don’t work, consult your podiatrist, who can safely remove a corn or callus (don’t try to shave it off yourself!).


It is sometimes known as “wear and tear arthritis,” the most common type of arthritis, characterized by the loss of cartilage in joints. It can strike anyone at any age, but it is more common in women, those over forty, and those who have suffered serious joint injuries. Swelling, discomfort, and stiffness in the joint, as well as difficulty walking or bending the joint, are all indications of osteoarthritis. As far as the foot and ankle are concerned, the most common location of arthritis is the big toe joint, ankle joint, and subtalar joint.  Often the arthritis is so advanced that the patient is not able to achieve the normal range of motion due to a loss of cartilage.  When that occurs pain becomes persistent.  Anti-inflammatory medicines are usually the first line of defense, but custom orthotics (shoe inserts) and physical therapy may be required in some cases. In severe circumstances, surgery may be required.

Achilles Tendinitis

This inflammatory condition causes intense pain in the tendon that links the heel to the calf and is most usually caused by overuse of the leg muscles. Often a tight heel cord is responsible for many other foot problems. Patients with Achilles tendonitis will present with discomfort or swelling in the back of their heel, tight calf muscles, and difficulty walking are all symptoms. Patients may also present with a prominent bony growth at the back of the heel which causes pain when wearing shoes. Your doctor will gently touch the affected area during the physical exam to assess the location of pain, soreness, or swelling. He or she will also assess your foot and ankle’s flexibility, alignment, range of motion, and reflexes. Tendinitis is a condition that normally responds well to self-care. Your doctor may recommend different treatment options if your signs and symptoms are severe or persistent. Anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and avoiding activities that irritate the condition may be recommended. If the pain persists after six months, surgery to repair the tendon and possibly stretch the calf muscle may be necessary.