Health Updates

Picking the Right Shoes for Older People

When it comes to choosing shoes, the subject may be ordinary for many of us. But for older people, having the right pair can make a huge difference when it comes to avoiding falls and injuries.

For instance, wearing high heels may be commonplace among 20-year-olds. But that’s a big no-no for the elderly. The footwear can be very dangerous for older people, given their diminished capacity to maintain good balance.

Wondering what’s the best footwear for older people? If you say loafers, athletic shoes and Oxfords, the answer is a big NO! A recent research showed that these shoes aren’t safe for the elderly.

According to Dr. Carol Frey, the 65 and older age group experiences falls and suffers injuries due to the wrong choice of footwear. A director of the Foot and Ankle Center at LA’s Orthopedic Hospital, Dr. Frey followed 185 men and women aged 55 and above and discovered that two-thirds of this group had fallen due to the old-fashioned footwear styles that include athletic shoes, loafers and Oxfords.

Avoiding falls and their resulting injuries may be as simple as picking the right pair.

Sneakers and athletic shoes, for instance, are bad for the elderly. According to Dr. Frey, about 60 percent of older people wearing them fell because their shoes were dragged or got caught on the floor; the other 40 percent complained that the soles are too slippery.

Here are Dr. Frey’s recommendations when picking the right shoes: Avoid footwear with slippery or worn-out soles, particularly those made with smooth leather or plastic material. Synthetic soles, in particular, can be very slippery. Ill-fitting shoes should also be avoided. Flip-flops or slippers may be worn but only those that fit well.

Look for shoes with good traction and that provide ample support to the feet. Avoid footwear with too much cushioning or with heavy soles or rubber over the toes. Laced shoes are preferred to slip-ons. Dr. Frey has no objections with respect to shoes with Velcro closures since they are easy to close and very adjustable.

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