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Foot care for the homeless

Foot care is a huge obstacle for the homeless population for a variety of reasons. However, knowing the reasons behind foot care issues and how to prevent them can help make this problem gradually easier to resolve.

Why is foot care an issue?

Most homeless people face foot care problems because they often lack resources to buy well-fitting, adequate footwear. For instance, buying a simple pair of socks can put a major dent in a homeless person’s budget. In most cases, homeless people resort to wearing footwear in the wrong size, or that lack adequate support.

Additionally, homelessness is not a generally healthy lifestyle. Many homeless individuals are not registered with a general practitioner, and some are reluctant to seek help from shelters, clinics, and hospitals. Lack of access to quality health care can put homeless people at greater risk for common foot problems, such as blisters and more serious issues such as diabetic foot ulcers, ingrown toenails, and chronic fungus. Some homeless people spend a great deal of time on their feet, walking from place to place because they do not have access to transportation.

Finally, medical professionals report that some homeless people have chronic physical and psychological health problems. These can range from alcoholism and drug use, to issues like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. The more entrenched these illnesses become, the more foot care falls by the wayside.

Resolving the problem

The medical community is becoming increasingly more aware of podiatry needs for homeless people, while others are spearheading organizations that accept shoe, sock, and foot care device donations, such as custom shoe inserts or orthotics. Some communities even partner with homeless shelters to offer free foot exams, foot baths, and other care.

Increasing numbers of schools and universities are also participating in health care programs for underserved populations. Individuals are urged to help with footwear, foot care, and financial donations wherever and whenever possible.

Have you neglected your foot health in the past, and want happier, healthier feet? The podiatrists at Kansas City Foot Specialists can determine the source of your problem and recommend treatments that can get you back on your feet. Contact us today to request an appointment and learn more about how to improve your foot health.