Surprisingly, preventing falls can be as simple as wearing the right shoes at the right time. Dr. Carol Frey, director of the Foot and Ankle Center at Orthopedic Hospital in Los Angeles, conducted a year-long study regarding safe footwear for seniors. Her research showed that in many cases shoes that are generally considered “safer footwear” were often to blame for falls that caused injuries.
The study involved 185 men and women over the age of 55. With participants 65 or older, shoes were often to blame for falls. Dr. Frey found that “bulky rubber soles worn on carpet can be hazardous while athletic shoes that are flat or worn are dangerous on wet surfaces.” Of the group that fell, 28% said that their footwear caught or dragged on the floor or was too slippery. Her recommendation is for older adults to consider the walking surface to best determine the type of shoe they should wear.
When buying footwear, seniors should select low-heeled shoes that fit well and provide support. A walking shoe with a light rubber sole is a good everyday choice as it provides both traction and support. Avoid shoes with a heavy sole or rubber over the toes as they can stick to carpet and cause falls. Other things to keep in mind are to avoid loose-fitting shoes or slippers, shoes with worn outer soles or with smooth leather or plastic soles. A beveled heel helps to prevent slipping and a broad flared heel maximizes contact with the ground. Also shoes with laces hold the shoe on the foot while walking and textured soles prevent slipping.
This post is for informational purposes and should not be used in place of the advice of your health care provider.
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