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Painful Foot Disorders in the Geriatric Population

A Narrative Review

Oh-Park, Mooyeon MD; Kirschner, Jonathan MD, RMSK; Abdelshahed, Dena MD; Kim, Dennis D.J. MD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: September 2019 - Volume 98 - Issue 9 - p 811–819
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001239
Literature Review

Painful foot disorders are highly prevalent among older adults causing a significant impact on mobility, function, and risk of falls. Despite its significance, foot pain is often interpreted as a normal part of aging and relatively ignored by health care providers as well as by the older people themselves. Accurate diagnosis of the cause of foot pain is possible for most cases via clinical evaluation without a costly workup. Clinicians should consider, not only musculoskeletal pathologies but also vascular and neurological disorders in older patients with foot pain. Fortunately, most patients improve with physiatric, nonoperative interventions involving biomechanical analysis, function-oriented rehabilitation programs and therapeutic exercise, the use of proper footwear and orthoses, and selected percutaneous interventions, as indicated. In this review, we discuss the physiologic changes of the aging foot relevant to foot pain, the impact of painful foot disorders on function and other key outcomes, and principles of diagnosis and intervention. We also briefly describe painful foot disorders of the older people commonly encountered in a physiatric practice.

From the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, White Plains, New York (MO-P); Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Montefiore Health System, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York (MO-P, DDJK); Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York (JK, DA); and Weil Cornell Medical College, New York, New York (JK, DA).

All correspondence should be addressed to: Mooyeon Oh-Park, MD, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, 785 Mamaroneck Av, White Plains, NY 10605.

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

Online date: June 3, 2019

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