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Painful Foot Disorders in the Geriatric Population

A Narrative Review

Oh-Park, Mooyeon MD1,2; Kirschner, Jonathan3,4; RMSK, MD3,4; Abdelshahed, Dena MD3,4; Kim, Dennis DJ MD2

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: May 31, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001239
Invited Literature Review: PDF Only

ABSTRACT 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 elderly 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, a majority of patients improve with physiatric, non-operative 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 elderly commonly encountered in a physiatric practice.

1Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, White Plains, NY

2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Montefiore Health System, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY

3Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY

4Weil Cornell Medical College, New York, NY

Previous presentation of the data: not applicable

Financial support: none

Corresponding author: Mooyeon Oh-Park, M.D. Address: Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, 785 Mamaroneck Av, White Plains, NY, 10605, U.S.A. Email:

Painful Foot Disorders in the Geriatric Population: A Narrative Review

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