Podiatric issues and chronic health conditions, such as arthritis, poor circulation, diabetic neuropathy, gout and plantar fasciitis, can all cause seniors to experience foot pain and discomfort. Family caregivers share their tips for treating a senior’s painful feet, which can improve their mobility and quality of life.

Caregiver Solutions for Sore, Painful Feet

“I’d recommend your loved one add walking to their routine and consider taking turmeric, which helps with arthritic inflammation. I’d also get them to walk as much as possible, even though that seems counterintuitive. Activity is good for arthritis, so if they are sitting a lot, their pain will be worse due to joint stiffness and disuse.” –blannie

“Heel pain can be caused by diabetic neuropathy and other conditions that are quite painful, like plantar fasciitis. This is treatable with anti-inflammatories and stretching exercises. Also, the fat pad on the heel can atrophy (shrink) in the elderly. In this case, a gel shoe insert can really help provide extra cushion and support.” –golden23

“My 84-year-old mom is diabetic and takes Lyrica for pain and neuropathy. She claims it is a great help for her.” –Windyridge

“A change in diet can alleviate some arthritis pain. Stop eating everything from the nightshade family. This includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. There are others, but these are the most common. This helped alleviate my mother’s pain.” –PCVS

“I suggest a new natural topical called Tendonex gel for plantar fasciitis. It contains a high concentration of alpha lipoic acid in a high bioavailability formulation.” –JerryB6768

“You can find stretching exercises to stretch out the fascia that runs from the heel up the center of the bottom of the foot to the toes. I also keep a small bottle of water in my freezer and roll it under my foot after I do the stretches. It must be done daily. I also use Voltaren gel, which is an anti-inflammatory by prescription. If your loved one does the stretches twice a day for a few months, it should clear it up. Another possible source of heel pain is a bone spur, which would need an x-ray to diagnose, and sometimes surgery is needed.” –anonymous9909

“My sister, a friend of mine and I have all had excellent results from changing our diets. My friend found that refined carbs triggered her inflammations. My sister and I found that dairy is our Kryptonite. Plus, we increased our consumption of anti-inflammatory foods. What I did to figure out the dairy issue was go on a vegetarian diet, eliminating processed foods. After a week of eating really healthy, my joints felt noticeably better. So, I kept at it. One day, I was at a friend’s house and ate various dairy-laden casseroles and four hours later, my joints hurt again.” –Linda22

“My dad read somewhere that a gluten-free diet can help with arthritis pain, so he gave it a try. Sure enough, he went somewhat gluten-free and it has helped him. His pain went way down. Now, I don’t know if it was from eliminating some wheat from his diet, or if it was mind over matter, but whatever it is, it’s working.” –freqflyer

“Voltaren gel works well. It’s a prescription NSAID topical medication. We have found that Nucynta ER 50 mg gives pain relief without causing mental confusion or dizziness that often occurs with other drugs. Recently, the spray-on OTC pain relief has been good for my mom (91) with severe arthritis in her knees, back, feet and neck.” –glasshalffull

“My sister has severe neuropathy in her feet due to diabetes. She takes an antidepressant that helps to block the pain. Also, there are supportive stockings and socks available. My sister has used the stockings with good success; however, they can be hot during warmer weather. My sister’s pain is not limited to her heels—it is random in her back, legs and feet. Many feel that tight stockings cut off circulation, but her doctor said they will not affect the main arteries in her legs because they are very deep.” –anonymous99039

“I went to a podiatrist with a foot issue years ago. Then some years later, I injured my back and ended up in physical therapy. The physical therapist did more for my feet than the podiatrist ever did. Depending on your loved one’s issues, you might want to check with their doctor and get a referral for physical therapy. They may have more to offer.” –anonymous95109

“Black cherry juice is very good for relieving symptoms of gout. Buy it concentrated and mix one part juice to five parts water. It flushes uric acid out of the joints. Do not let your loved one eat too much beef, tomatoes, potatoes or eggplant, and encourage them to drink lots of water!” –ChristinaW

“Pronation can cause foot and leg pain. Orthotics might bring relief. You don’t have to get the expensive custom-made ones. The over-the-counter orthotics (hard kind, not the gel) may work just fine for your loved one. I had foot pain for years, and orthotics stopped it immediately.” –judypanama

“I had peripheral neuropathy due to a B12 deficiency. The doctor said the myelin coating on my nerves was not being supported. I passed the B12 serum test, but when that and several other odd symptoms persisted, the doctor ran a different test. It seems a person can have plenty of B12 in their system, but if the lining of their stomach doesn’t produce enough intrinsic factor for the B12 to bind to, it can’t be used by the body. One of the usual causes of decreased intrinsic factor is long-term PPI (proton pump inhibitor) use, like Prevacid, etc. I just have to have a B12 injection every now and then. If your loved one is having symptoms of neuropathy, but they don’t have diabetes, it can’t hurt to ask their doctor about including the test next time they’re having a blood draw.” –New2this

“My aunt used paraffin dips for the arthritis pain in her hands. She had a small device that heated the paraffin to a specific temperature, then I believe she put her hands in it. It sounds uncomfortable, but the wax was warm, not hot, and it really helped her. This could help soothe arthritic feet, too.” –GardenArtist

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“For gout, you want to dissolve the uric acid crystals that accumulate in the joints. Their doctor can prescribe allopurinol, but the patient must also change their diet and drink lots of liquids. Vinegar helps dissolve the crystals as well, but sour cherry juice is much more palatable.” –pamstegma

“There are many positives to foot massage. The entire body is mapped out on the hands and feet in reflexology. It will not only help your loved one’s feet, but their vital organs as well. Make sure that there are no contraindications for massage first, though. For example, do they have an issue with blood clots? Depending on what type of pain they have and where it is in their feet, they may also have back issues.” –Picasso

“If a loved one has pain in the legs and feet, rule out other causes that might need medical attention, such as clots. Clots in the legs, if massaged, can move, causing a stroke or other cardiovascular event. If someone has these, they need medical attention for that, first. Next, evaluate their dietary intake. Once the nutritional or medical issues are addressed properly, THEN they might very well enjoy a massage, pedicure or spa day.” –Chimonger

“The elderly get cold much easier than younger individuals—especially their feet. This can be very painful. Walmart has these great little slippers in the ‘as seen on TV’ section. They can be heated in the microwave and stay warm for a long time! Be super careful NOT to overheat, though!!!! They are a great solution for cold feet. I plan to get my mom some for Christmas!” –Darcy123

“Cold, achy feet is an extremely common complaint in the elderly. It can be due to restricted blood flow or compressed nerves. It is annoying but can also lead to falls. Cold feet are also a sign of poor circulation. Good wool socks can help. If this occurs mostly when your loved one wakes up, it may be at least partially due to the way they lie in bed. Experiment with different positions and supporting their limbs with pillows. Before getting out of bed, the patient should move their legs and feet to try and get their blood flowing. Also talk to their doctor to rule out any underlying diseases.” –Veronica91

“Two easy suggestions for cold, numb feet are foot massages with lotion (like when you get a pedicure) and basic foot exercises (rotation of ankles, pointing and flexing toes, etc.) to help with circulation.” –Invisible

“I have trouble with my feet and legs in the mornings, and I know it is because the muscles and other things are too cool. What may help your loved one is to fold an extra blanket that will cover them from the knees down during the night. This will help keep their feet and legs warmer, minimize pain, and improve circulation.” –JessieBelle