Footwear for Older Adults

Falls are the leading cause of injuries for older adults. As seniors become older, they can develop difficulty in maintaining balance and slower reflexes. Additionally, they are afflicted by painful conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis, making it more likely for them to experience pain or break a brittle bone. Since a fall can limit mobility and consequently take away independence for seniors, it is important to take measures to prevent them. One major way to prevent falls is to make sure that older adults have proper, supportive footwear. The following are guidelines to follow when shopping for seniors’ footwear:

  • Always try the shoes on. Since every person’s foot shape is different, just finding the right size or buying shoes that you’ve worn before is not always your best bet. As bones shift and become deformed, shoes that fit before may not be comfortable. Waiting to “break them in” is not helpful, especially when planning for them to be worn right away.
  • Measure foot size each time you buy new shoes. Weight changes, foot structure changes or deformities, and swollen feet can affect proper sizing.
  • Make sure the toes are comfortable. Toeboxes that are too narrow or flat can put pressure on the feet and cause issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns. If they are too wide or too tall, the feet will not be properly supported and they can slide around and require your feet to strain to keep stable.
  • Ensure proper arch and heel support. For example, those with flat feet will need sufficient arch support to stabilize and distribute pressure on the foot. You may need additional orthotic inserts if your shoes do not have sufficient arch support. Heel cups should support the heel to make sure that the back of the foot doesn’t slide around.
  • Check the soles of the shoes. The insoles should be flexible and have enough cushion to support standing and walking. Outer soles should have good grip when used on smooth floors to prevent slips. For carpet, however, the rubber soles could get caught and cause a trip.
  • Test the soles of the shoes. Try the following: 1. Fold it in half – you should not be able to fold in half, but it should bend a little. 2. Twist the shoe – it should twist a bit, but not all the way. 3. Push on the back of the shoes. The back of the shoe that covers the heel should only be able to push a little bit, and otherwise stay upright and sturdy.

To get the best advice, come see our board-certified foot doctor Carl Ingrassia, DPM. At Fords Foot and Ankle Care we will use the latest technologies to assess your feet’s needs. Our team wants to provide care for you and your family, so make an appointment to come see us at our Fords, NJ office. Call us today at (732) 738-4441.