A survey of foot problems in community-dwelling older Greek Australians Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • BACKGROUND: Foot problems are common in older people and are associated with impaired mobility and quality of life. However, the characteristics of foot problems in older Australians for whom English is a second language have not been evaluated. METHODS: One hundred and four community-dwelling people aged 64 to 90 years with disabling foot pain (according to the case definition of the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index, or MFPDI) were recruited from four Greek elderly citizens clubs in Melbourne, Australia. All participants completed a Greek language questionnaire consisting of general medical history, the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire, the MFPDI, and specific questions relating to foot problems and podiatry service utilisation. In addition, all participants underwent a brief clinical foot assessment. RESULTS: The MFPDI score ranged from 1 to 30 (median 14), out of a total possible score of 34. Women had significantly higher total MFPDI scores and MFPDI subscale scores. The MFPDI total score and subscale scores were significantly associated with most of the SF-36 subscale scores. The most commonly reported foot problem was difficulty finding comfortable shoes (38%), and the most commonly observed foot problem was the presence of hyperkeratotic lesions (29%). Only 13% of participants were currently receiving podiatry treatment, and 40% stated that they required more help looking after their feet. Those who reported difficulty finding comfortable shoes were more likely to be female, and those who required more help looking after their feet were more likely to be living alone and have osteoarthritis in their knees or back. CONCLUSIONS: Foot problems appear to be common in older Greek Australians, have a greater impact on women, and are associated with reduced health-related quality of life. These findings are broadly similar to previous studies in English-speaking older people in Australia. However, only a small proportion of this sample was currently receiving podiatry treatment, and a substantial number stated that they required more help looking after their feet. To address this issue, steps need to be taken to increase awareness of podiatry services among older Greek Australians.

publication date

  • December 2011