Preventing Falls, Improving Balance
Good shoes can give you the grounding you need to help with balance and also help prevent a fall.
Every year, more than 1 in 3 older people will have a fall, and the likelihood of a severe injury increases with age.
Falls can happen to everyone, but one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent a fall is to change the type of shoes you wear.Seniors are often not wearing the right shoes which can cause problems with balance. Click To Tweet
Your feet are like reference points on a map, and without good mobility, strength and grounding you may find yourself heading in the wrong direction.
Good shoes can help keep older people grounded.
What to look for in a good shoe:
Active seniors need to choose the right shoe for the job. They should be lightweight, secure on the feet, and comfortable.
If you’re of mature age, here are some questions you can ask yourself to check if shoes are right for you:
- Do the shoes fit well? Your shoes should be secure around your heels, and have space at the end of your toes
- Are they enclosed and comfortable? Purchase shoes when your feet are feeling their worst – late in the afternoon. Make sure they’re enclosed and comfortable.
- Do they bend at the ball of the foot? They need to be flexible at the ball of your foot, but rigid under your arch
- Do the shoes have a flat sole? Heel blocks, hard edges and high heels increase your risk of falling
- Do the shoes have a bit of bounce? The sole should be low and soft, giving you good feel for the ground
You should avoid shoes that are heavy, rigid, or hard. Shoes shouldn’t have a slippery sole, and shouldn’t be able to be kicked off without untying laces or straps.
You should also avoid shoes with leather soles, or shoes with high heels.
Good shoes don’t have to be boring.
You can find good shoes that look good as well.
Podiatrists are dedicated to helping people choose the right shoes, and will often work with shoe companies and specialist shoe stores to make sure they’re happy.
Are your shoes safe?
If you’re unsure if your shoes are safe, speak with your podiatrist.
The podiatrists at Posture Podiatry can assess your balance, your current footwear, and help connect you with specialist shoe stores to make sure you choose the right shoes for you.
One thing we love to do as podiatrists is to look at the wear pattern on the base of your shoes.
A common problem we see is wearing down of the outside of the heel. Contrary to what people may think, this is not a sign that your feet are rolling in or out, but it is actually more to do with your hip position as your foot swings through from one step to the next.
Another common problem is a circular wear pattern on one or both of your shoes under the forefoot. This is telling us that as you push off from one step to the next you may be twisting your foot slightly in order to clear the ground.
Take a look at the shoes you are wearing right now and see what areas are wearing down.
By looking at your shoes, podiatrists can detect problems with hamstrings, Achilles tendons, big toes, knees, hips, back pain and even headaches.
Your shoes don’t lie!
The wear pattern on the base of your shoes can give podiatrists valuable clues as to how your posture is affecting your walking, and where there may be a loss of efficiency.
Try this out
A good thing to do at home is to line up three pairs of shoes, turn them over and study the wear pattern of the base of your shoes to see if there are any inconsistencies.
Do you notice that the wear pattern is the same from one shoe to the next, or does it change?
And of the shoes you have chosen, is the wear pattern different on the ones that are least comfortable?
Do you notice that one shoe looks different to the other shoe? Even minor differences can be an indication of asymmetry, which could be contributing to pain or injury.
If you do notice any of these, it may be worth investigating further. You may have just discovered the map that could lead you to the source of your pain.
The podiatrists at Posture Podiatry are trained to interpret the wear pattern on your shoes to find the best outcome for you.