Causes Of Foot Pain For Seniors (Thorough Breakdown)


Foot pain in seniors.

Have foot pain on top of the foot (or anywhere else, for that matter) and don’t know what to do?

Well, you have a bunch of options, starting from wearing MindInsole acupressure insoles or just calling a doctor. But before you do anything, you should try to better understand why your feet may be hurting in the first place.

Why Do Seniors’ Feet Hurt?

Elderly individuals may experience foot pain due to a wide array of health conditions, including arthritis, poor circulation, plantar fasciitis, or diabetic neuropathy.

At a high level, foot aches may be caused by systemic factors (vascular, neurological, musculoskeletal conditions) and local factors (structural disorders that compromise the foot’s ability to bear load).

Pinpointing the root cause of foot pain in seniors can be challenging. WebMD lists 17 possible reasons for foot pain in aged people, while Mayo Clinic lists over 30.

Anyway, to give you an idea of how foot pain in seniors can occur, here are some of its possible causes:

  • Fat pad atrophy. Footpads are responsible for dampening shock as you walk. When atrophied, the pads can no longer protect your bones and joints from impact.
  • Cracked heels. Heel skin in seniors may crack due to its lowering elasticity. Without care, your heels will hurt more with time.
  • Plantar fasciitis. A common cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis happens from repeated stress. Plantar fasciitis is typically accompanied by inflammation and stiffness.
  • Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis happens when foot cartilage – the flexible tissue that prevents friction between bones – gets worn from use. As a result, bones in the feet start rubbing against each other, causing pain.
  • Flat feet. Flat feet can be caused by injury or health conditions like obesity or high blood pressure. Additionally, flat feet can be passed down to children as a hereditary trait.

Foot pain diagrams – like the ones below from foot-pain-explored – can help you more or less easily identify the cause of foot pain when walking or in other situations. These foot pain maps probably won’t replace a professional diagnosis from a doctor, but they could give you an idea of what’s going on.

A foot pain map for the top of the foot.

A foot pain map for the bottom of the foot.

What To Do If You Have Foot Pain?

So what can you do to treat severe foot pain? You basically have two options – you can either address a doctor or give a shot to a number of home remedies.

Try home remedies

Let’s get this straight – whenever possible, you should try to treat foot pain or soreness at home. Although professional help from a doctor would undoubtedly help you more accurately identify the cause of foot pain and treat it accordingly, medical aid can be costly and time-consuming.

Below are some home remedy recommendations for foot pain relief. They are more tailored to metatarsalgia and plantar fasciitis but should work for most foot conditions:

  • Lose weight. Excess weight can put extra stress on your feet.
  • Wear supportive shoes. Shoes with a low to moderate heel, good arch support, extra cushioning, and thick soles are the best. You could also throw in your own foot inserts for added support (like MindInsole).
  • Avoid wearing worn-out shoes. If your shoes are no longer as supportive, comfortable, and cushioned as they used to be, stop wearing them.
  • Switch to low-impact activities. If you are running or jogging, try switching to lower-impact activities, like swimming or cycling.
  • Rest and try cold therapy. Resting and ice can help if your foot pain is due to overuse or injury. Avoid strenuous activity that can worsen pain and put ice on your aching foot for 15-20 minutes several times a day.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Ibuprofen (like Advil or Motrin IB), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and aspirin may help you reduce pain and inflammation.

Call your doctor

Mayo Clinic recommends seeking immediate medical attention if you:

  • Have severe pain or swelling.
  • Have an open wound or a wound that is oozing pus.
  • Have symptoms of infection like redness, warmth, and tenderness in the affected area, or a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cannot walk or put weight on the foot.
  • Have diabetes and have a wound that isn’t healing or is red, swollen, deep, and warm to the touch.

Schedule an appointment if you have:

  • Persistent swelling that doesn’t improve after 2-5 days of treatment at home.
  • Persistent pain that doesn’t improve after several weeks.
  • Burning pain, numbness, or tingling, especially if the symptoms involve all or most of your foot’s bottom.


If you do decide to seek medical attention, make sure to make a list of your symptoms to show to your doctor. You should also make a list of all medications or supplements you are taking currently. This will help with the diagnosis of foot pain in seniors.



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