Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 

 

 

 

Proper shoes for the elderly can reduce their falls risk, which is one of the leading causes of injury for older people.

A fall can cause an injury such as a hip or pelvis fracture which means months of rehabilitation therapy. It can even have long term affects to the senior’s mobility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we age our feet go through changes that make us more likely to fall. It is important to understand what changes to expect to avoid falls.

Falls can be very dangerous for seniors and can lead to cuts, bruises, broken bones and even serious head injuries.

 

Further Reading: Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

 

Footwear Can Prevent Falls

 

Recent research has found that good footwear can reduce the risk of falls in the elderly.

Researchers followed study participants for an average of 27.5 months. Almost 52 percent of participants who said they experienced a fall during that period were either barefoot (18 percent), wearing socks with no shoes (7 percent), or wearing slippers (27 percent) at the time.

Those individuals also suffered more serious consequences from their fall, including fractures, sprains, dislocations, or torn muscles.

A good pair of shoes for the elderly are not only comfortable but safer.

Wearing the right shoes can be helpful in the prevention of falls so seniors should know what to look for when choosing their shoes.

In this article, I will share some tips for seniors about how to choose the right shoes to help avoid falls.

 

As people age it is common for seniors to begin to lose feeling in their feet which can cause them to feel less balanced when walking.

Our feet can also change shape and begin to flatten out or develop bunions or curled toes which can be very painful and can also cause balance problems and make seniors have trouble walking.

 

 

 

 

Choosing sensible shoes is the best way to manage these changes and keep seniors safe while walking.

The first thing that seniors should do when choosing their shoes is to have their feet measured.

As the feet change it is possible for them to change size as well which can be problematic if seniors continue to buy the same shoe size without measuring their feet. Shoes that are too small can cause pain in the feet that can lead to accidents and shoes that are too big can slide on and off the feet while seniors are walking and cause falls as well.

Family caregivers should make sure that their loved ones have their feet measured when shopping for shoes or assist them in measuring their feet at home if they are going to shop for shoes online. Seniors should make sure that they have their feet measured each time they buy shoes just to make sure that they are always getting shoes that will fit properly.

The next thing that seniors should do when shopping for shoes is look for shoes that are sensible and comfortable. High heeled shoes or shoes with slick soles might look nice but they are not very sensible for seniors because they can easily cause falls. Flat and sturdy shoes with nonskid soles are best for seniors because they can help seniors stay balanced to avoid falls.

 

ExtraWide for Swelling and Edema

 

Shoes should also be comfortable to help seniors avoid pain in their feet when walking, especially if there is swelling.
 
Wide shoes are often best for seniors as they help prevent bunions on the feet and give seniors a better sense of balance because of the extra width. Women who are having trouble finding shoes that are wide enough can try looking at men’s shoes because shoes for men are often designed to be wider.

 

 

Orthotics and Shoe Inserts

Seniors that are still having trouble finding comfortable shoes can try orthotic shoes or inserts. Custom made orthotics and orthotic shoes but the prefabricated orthotic inserts often work very well at a fraction of the price.

Orthotic inserts are designed to stabilize the feet and redistribute pressure so that seniors will have more feeling in their feet and be less likely to stumble and get hurt.

 

 

Recommended: Pinnacle Plus Full Length Orthotic Shoe Inserts

Maximum cushioning, full support with built-in met pad. Pinnacle Plus Full Length Orthotic Shoe Inserts feature built-in metatarsal support to spread and cushion the metatarsal heads to help alleviate pain.

Ideal for morton’s neuroma and metatarsalgia, the pinnacle plus provides the perfect blend of foot control, flexibility and cushioning. The encapsulated design with a firm but flexible support shell, built-in arch support and heel cradle offers stability and motion control. Plush cushioning with vct technology increases stability and comfort in casual, athletic and work shoes.

Ideal as metatarsalgia orthotics, Pinnacle Plus Full Length Orthotic Shoe Inserts prevent and alleviate pain associated with plantar fasciitis, metatarsal pain, heel or arch pain and discomfort, mild to moderate pronation, sore/aching feet and other common foot conditions.

 

 


 

 

Shoelaces

 

Many people overlook shoelaces when selecting a pair of shoes, but seniors and family caregivers should take them into consideration when making a purchase. Having shoelaces come untied can be very problematic for seniors as it can cause them to trip and fall. Seniors that do want to purchase shoes with laces should keep a close eye out to make sure that their laces do not come untied while they are walking.

Seniors that are unable to bend down easily to tie their laces should consider shoes with fabric fasteners. Fabric fasteners can be secured in place when the shoe is put on and will not come undone until they are pulled on. There are several shoes with fabric fasteners available for seniors and they can be very beneficial for seniors to purchase because they can prevent falls and help keep seniors from having to constantly check and re-tie their shoelaces.

Another great option is No-Tie Shoelaces.

 

Recommended:

  • Reflective laces provide great nighttime visibility. The reflective elastic no tie shoelaces and fastening system fits any style and size of shoes with shoelaces.
  • Package includes: 5 sets of elastic shoelaces. Each set come with 2 lock pieces, 2 cord clips and 2 laces suitable for lace up 1 pair of shoes.
  • Time saver – more comfortable than regular shoelaces, elastic cords distribute pressure of laces evenly over your feet. Very convenient and easy to use for the elderly or those with reduced mobility.
  • QUALITY GUARANTEED – Satisfaction or get your money back.

 

 

 

Following these tips is a good way to prevent seniors from falling. Family caregivers can help their loved ones by assisting them when choosing shoes so that they can purchase shoes that are comfortable and safe.

Seniors might be reluctant to give up their former shoes but they will be much safer and less likely to fall in the long run so family caregivers should try to do everything that they can to help their loved ones choose shoes that are safe and that they feel comfortable wearing.

 

 

Practical Tips and Suggestions

 

What Makes a Shoe Safe?

There are certain features you should look for in a shoe that makes it “safe” – reduces falls risk.

These include:

  • Heel (upper) – A firm heel collar to provide stability
  • Laces – Laces to ensure the shoe holds onto the foot while walking
  • Heel (bottom) – A bevelled heel to prevent slipping and a broad flared heel to maximize contact with the ground
  • Sole – A textured sole to prevent slipping
  • Midsole – A thin firm midsole so the wearer can feel the ground underneath

 

What Makes a Shoe Unsafe?

There are certain features that make shoes for the elderly unsafe and increase the risk of falling.

These include:

  • Heel (upper) – Soft or stretched uppers make the foot slide around in the shoe
  • High heels (women’s shoes) – High heels should be avoided as they impair stability when walking
  • Narrow heels (women’s shoes) – Narrow heels make the foot unstable and can cause ankle sprains
  • No Laces – Lack of laces could mean the foot can slide out of the shoe
  • Sole – Slippery or worn soles are a balance hazard, particularly in wet weather.

 

Good shoes for the elderly provide:

  • Firm base
  • Cushioning
  • A Non Slip Sole
  • Ankle Support

 

Footwear Can Prevent Falls

Recent research has found that good footwear can reduce the risk of falls in the elderly.

Researchers followed study participants for an average of 27.5 months. Almost 52 percent of participants who said they experienced a fall during that period were either barefoot (18 percent), wearing socks with no shoes (7 percent), or wearing slippers (27 percent) at the time.

Those individuals also suffered more serious consequences from their fall, including fractures, sprains, dislocations, or torn muscles.

 

A good pair of shoes for the elderly are not only comfortable but safer.

 

 

 

 

Shopping for

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 

If you are heading out to buy shoes, remember to bring:

  • Orthotics (if you use them)
  • Socks that you normally wear
  • Old shoes so the salesperson can look at the wear pattern (ex. worn on one side of shoe).

 

When To Shop:

  • Buy footwear in the afternoon when your foot is the largest

 

Sizing:

  • Shoes should fit snugly without being to tight
  • If your feet are different sizes, buy the size that fits the larger foot
  • There should be about 1/2 inch of room between your big toe and the end of the shoe when you are standing
  • Try shoes of different widths to get the correct fit

 

 

Shoe Features to look for

  • Toe – A wide deep toe are gives space for toes. Not enough space can lead to bunions, hammer toes, corns and calluses.
  • Heel (upper) – Should be firm enough so that you cannot squeeze it between thumb and fingers
  • Sole – This is the most important part of the shoe to reduce falls risk. Shoes with a greater contact area with the ground are more stable and provide more grip. Soles should be non slip but not sticky. They should not be too thick as it is difficult to feel the ground which can cause falls on uneven terrain.
  • Heel – A low slightly beveled heel is preferred
  • Fastening – Shoes with velcro or lace are preferred and they improve stability and hold the shoe to the foot.
  • Lining – Lining will stretch to fit the shape of the foot. Lining should have few seams, especially over bony areas of the foot as these can cause irritation.
  • Material – A leather shoe will stretch over the foot and form to its shape. Leather can also be shaped to accommodate bunions or hammer toes.
  • Arch Support – There should be enough arch support for your type of foot to make it comfortable.
  • Tongue – Should be padded and easy to get the shoe on and off.

Walk around the store for 5-10 minutes to test the shoe’s fit. Is there any rubbing or slipping? Are there any red areas on your feet when you take them off? This can be a sign of a poor fit.

 

 

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Please share your tips and experience with shoes for the elderly in the comment section below.

 

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