Foot problems

Foot problems

LASA filenames:

Contact: Natasja van Schoor


Foot problems, including painful and deformed feet, toenail problems, infections, ulcers and corns, are an extremely common problem in older persons.1,2,3 Menz and Lord 4 reported that 87% of a sample with community dwelling elderly reported at least one foot problem. Munro and Steele 2 found that 71% of independently living elderly of 65 years and older reported suffering from foot problems. The prevalence and severity of foot conditions increase with age, as the aging process can result in neuropathy and ischemia.3 In addition, chronic conditions such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and arthritis often cause disorders of the feet.3 Foot problems are associated with impaired balance and physical performance,4 and may increase the risk of falls,5 and foot fractures.6

Measurement instruments in LASA

Foot problems were assessed during the face-to-face medical interview of LASA-C, -D, -E and -F. During the interviews at LASA-C and LASA-D, interviewers were instructed to inspect both feet and to score whether the feet were intact (yes/no). When one of the feet was not intact, the interviewer classified abnormalities as: sores, corns, crooked grown toes, amputation of toes, amputation (of part) of the foot, or any other foot problem. In addition, the interviewer observed whether the respondent had a smack feet and whether the respondent was able to pull up his/her toes, and. In LASA-E and-F, inspection of the feet was not performed, only the last observation whether the respondent was able to pull up his/her toes was done.


LASAC185 / LASAD185 / LASAE185 / LASAF185 (medical interview, in Dutch)

Variable information

LASAC185 / LASAD185 / LASAE185 / LASAF185

Availability of information per wave


Foot problems


¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort

Me=data collected in medical interview

Previous use in LASA

Foot problems have been studied as predictor for falls in three studies (Pluijm et al. 2012; Stel et al. 2003; Tromp et al. 2001). According to pre-defined criteria, it was decided that only predictors with a prevalence of 10% or more were evaluated. Therefore, only the observation whether the foot was whole or not (any foot problem) was examined as a potential predictor. However, any foot problem was no predictor in these risk profiles. In addition, Pijper et al. (2012) included foot problems as covariable, exploring the association between diabetes and recurrent falls.


  1. Menz HB, Lord SR. Foot problems, functional impairment, and falls in older people. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 1999;89:458-67.
  2. Munro BJ, Steele JR. Foot-care awareness. A survey of persons aged 65 years and older. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 1998;88:242-8.
  3. Robbins JM. Recognizing, treating, and preventing common foot problems. Cleve Clin J Med 2000;67:45-7, 51-2, 55-6.
  4. Menz HB, Lord SR. The contribution of foot problems to mobility impairment and falls in community-dwelling older people. J Am Geriatr Soc 2001;49:1651-6.
  5. Tinetti ME, Speechley M, Ginter SF. Risk factors for falls among elderly persons living in the community. N Engl J Med 1988;319:1701-7.
  6. Keegan TH, Kelsey JL, Sidney S, Quesenberry CP Jr. Foot problems as risk factors of fractures. Am J Epidemiol 2002;155:926-31.

Date of last update: July 28, 2015