We have assessed foot problems of, and chiropody provision for, 96 people aged 80 years and over who were living at home. Seventy-seven per cent had difficulty cutting their toenails and 30% complained of pain in the feet. The commonest foot problems were corns or callus, abnormal nails, hallux valgus and other toe abnormalities. Only six subjects had normal healthy feet.
Of the 47 people receiving chiropody, two-thirds were being seen privately. Private chiropody tended to be performed in the home and was more frequent than National Health Service (NHS) treatment. Fifteen subjects needed but were not having chiropody.
Foot problems are common in the very old. We suggest that doctors and nurses should ask old people regularly about problems cutting nails and pain in the feet. At present the provision of chiropody for old people is inadequate and ways of improving foot care must be found.