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Merck Manual

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Spotlight on Aging: Foot Problems in Older People

Spotlight on Aging: Foot Problems in Older People

With aging, many changes occur in the feet:

  • Older people typically have less hair on their feet.

  • Brown discoloration (pigmentation) may occur in spots or patches.

  • The skin may become dry.

  • The toenails often become thicker and curved.

  • Fungal infections of the nails occur commonly.

  • The size of the feet may change.

The feet may actually become longer and wider because of changes in the ligaments and joints. A person with these types of changes may need to wear larger shoes. Therefore, feet should be measured periodically or when purchasing new shoes.

Also, feet can be damaged by a lifetime of poorly fitting shoes.