Improving Balance: How to Choose Shoes for Seniors
For the older population, the smallest slip and fall can result in potentially life-threatening injuries that greatly affect quality of life. Choosing the right shoes for seniors is key.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors. In fact, 2.3 million fall injuries resulted in seniors being taken to an emergency room in 2010, which caused $30 billion in medical care costs.
Having good balance is the foundation of maintaining good health, as it will help reduce the risk of falls that can result in injuries. While balance does begin to deteriorate as you age, proper footwear can help by providing stability in the foot and ankle.
If you’ve noticed that your balance is not as good as it once was, the podiatrists at Triad Foot Center have some suggestions on picking out shoes to help improve balance:
- Have your feet professionally measured: Believe it or not, many people often purchase the wrong shoe size for their feet. Have your feet measured in the afternoon, when they are at their largest, to ensure a proper fit. Your feet may be up to a size larger in the afternoon versus in the morning. In addition, as you age, your feet may change in size due to osteoporosis or swelling.
- Go with your gut: If you don’t feel comfortable and steady while wearing them in the store, put them back on the shelf. Breaking them in won’t help with stability.
- Consider shoes an investment if you are older: Good shoes aren’t always cheap, so make sure you do your due diligence before purchasing. Check out different brands, styles and fits to be sure that you’ve chosen the right pair for your feet. If you have diabetes, be sure to purchase diabetic shoes made specifically for the condition.
- Give shoes the 1-2-3 test
- Step 1: Be sure the heel won’t collapse by pushing on both sides of the heel areas.
- Step 2: Check for toe flexibility. Bend the shoe to make sure that the shoes only bend at the toe box. The arch area of the shoe should only have limited bending ability. On the other hand, if they are too stiff they may not bend in the arch area, which is where you’ll want some flexion.
- Step 3: Twist the shoe to ensure that the middle portion of the shoe doesn’t twist.
- Make sure your toes have room: The edge of the toe box should be a thumb width longer than the longest toe.
- Heel depth: The heel of the shoe should be deep and firm.
- Consider your medical conditions: If you suffer from medical conditions that affect your feet, like diabetes, peripheral neuropathy or other circulation problems, be sure to consult with a podiatrist to help determine what type of shoes are best for you. Not all shoes are created equal for all foot conditions.
For more information about foot health or to make an appointment with a podiatrist atTriad Foot Center, click here to request an appointment or call one of our three office locations conveniently located in the Piedmont Triad.
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