January 2019

Foot Problems Affect 2/3 of Homeless Population

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With homelessness on the rise, a recent systematic review sought to characterize the foot problems of homeless persons, based on the available literature. The review included 17 articles with study populations from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. Mean age of participants across the studies was 40 years old, but only 3 studies included children and adolescents. Males were the majority participants in all of the studies (range 51% to 100%). Total population included across the studies was 6,371 individuals.

Prevalence of foot pathologies ranged from 9% to 65% across the studies (see Table). Homeless individuals reported receiving care for foot problems in a variety of service centers: shelters, general medical and foot clinics, medical centers, drop-in services, and emergency departments. Several studies reported that one-fifth of these individuals required follow-up due to the severity of their foot condition.

The authors note that treating foot problems in this population may serve as a gateway for getting these individuals into treatment for other unmet health and social needs.

Source: To MJ, Brothers TD, Van Zoost C. Foot conditions among homeless persons: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2016:11(12):e0167463.

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