Prevalence of foot and ankle conditions in a multiethnic community sample of older adults

Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Mar 1;159(5):491-8. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwh071.


The prevalence of foot and ankle disorders was determined in a community-based, multiethnic (non-Hispanic White, African American, and Puerto Rican) random sample of 784 community-dwelling adults aged 65 or more years in 2001-2002 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Overall, the five most common conditions were toenail disorders (74.9%), lesser toe deformities (60.0%), corns and calluses (58.2%), bunions (37.1%), and signs of fungal infection, cracks/fissures, or maceration between toes (36.3%); 30.9% had some tenderness to palpation of the foot or ankle, and 14.9% had ankle joint pain on most days in the past 4 weeks. Toenail conditions, fungal symptoms, and ulcers or lacerations were more common in men, while bunions and corns and calluses were more common in women (p < 0.001). Significant racial/ethnic differences, independent of education or gender, were found for the prevalence of most toe deformities and flat feet, as well as for corns and calluses, fungal signs, edema, ankle joint pain, tenderness to palpation, and sensory loss. Foot and ankle disorders are common in these older adults. Examination of their prevalence in different segments of the community may inform future studies to determine etiology and means of prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ankle*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Foot Diseases / ethnology
  • Foot Diseases / etiology
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Prevalence