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Foot Problems in Homeless Persons

Keith Wrenn, MD
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Requests for Reprints: Keith Wrenn, MD, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 655 ED, Rochester, NY 14642.

University of Rochester School of Medicine
Rochester, NY 14642

Ann Intern Med. 1990;113(8):567-569. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-113-8-567
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Homelessness is increasing. Factors contributing to health problems in homeless persons include lifestyle, exposure to the elements, contaminated environments, malnutrition, a high prevalence of substance abuse, and an increased risk for physical injury (1). In addition, access to health care is limited by financial barriers, self-neglect, transportation difficulties, fear of large institutions, and mental illness (2). Foot problems represent a relatively large proportion of complaints (up to 20%) among homeless persons (2-4). Traumatic disorders, ulcers, infections, immersion foot, and frostbite are among the many foot problems found in homeless persons.

Trauma is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in


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