Why the right footwear is one of the most important decisions for your health and independence
Our risk of falling during normal daily life significantly increases as we age. Approximately 30-40% of elderly individuals fall each year - with 5-15% of these falls resulting in serious injury. Such injuries are damaging to physical, mental, and emotional health, and can result in a loss of independence which may never be completely regained.
Inappropriate footwear is one of the major contributors to slips, trips, and falls, especially among the elderly. Footwear has a deciding impact on your balance and stability, and by extension your everyday safety.
Check out Waikato Podiatry Clinic's 4 Feature Focus below - the four features to look out for in footwear to keep you comfy and safe every day!
If there is too much room in the shoe, particularly the forefoot and toes, your foot will slide around in the shoe.
Shoes that are too stiff or heavy can lead to muscle fatigue and an awkward gait.
Shoes with inadequate fastenings cannot be properly secured around your feet.
A narrow or high heel decreases the surface area under your heel as you walk.
Open heels, such as slippers or flip-flops, do not offer adequate support or fit.
Whether because of poor design or heavy use, shoes with inadequate soles will not grip properly on smooth surfaces such as tiles, or wet surfaces.
Shoes with these issues significantly increase your likelihood of slipping on surfaces, tripping on your own footwear, or falling while walking!
Firm, supportive material which encloses the foot without slipping.
Shoes of a comfortable weight which do not require muscular compensation to walk in.
Shoes with laces or velcro which allow for secure fastening around your feet.
A low, square heel which increases the surface area as you walk.
Enclosed heels which fit properly and support your feet adequately.
Thin, firm soles with a good tread allow for better sensation between your foot and the ground, and reduce the chances of slipping on wet or smooth surfaces.
Shoes with these traits provide extra balance and stability while walking, significantly reducing your chances of slips, trips, or falls.
The best cure is prevention!
If you, or someone you know, has had a fall or is at risk of falling due to poor footwear, a full assessment of their footwear and walking pattern should be completed. Our podiatrists will be able to make footwear recommendations based on your specific needs.
In addition to footwear advice, some patients will benefit from strengthening exercises to assist with balance and stability. The podiatrists at Waikato Podiatry Clinic will be happy to help you develop a personalised program to free you from foot and leg pain, so you can lead an active and healthy life.
Contact Waikato Podiatry Clinic now to make an appointment!
10 Pembroke Street, Hamilton 93a Thomas Road, Rototuna