FALL PREVENTION STARTS WITH KNOWLEDGE
Shoes can make all the difference between being balanced and comfortable or at a higher risk of a fall. The following guidelines can help you pick the best shoe for your feet and lifestyle.
Avoid shoes that are excessively flexible and worn.
Wear shoes that encourage activity. Walking shoes and leisure shoes that are light-weight are often the best, as long as the mid-sole is not too flexible
Avoid open-backed shoes or open-backed slippers. Such footwear can be hazardous and cause falls. Studies show those that go barefoot or wear slippers in the house are at an increased risk of falling.
If your foot swells or becomes larger during the day, stretchable Lycra shoes are best, as long as they remain supportive and not too flexible. Lycra shoes can also be more comfortable if you have hammertoes or bunions.
Proper fit is critical. Shoes that are too big can be a hazard as well as shoes too small (width or length) as they can cause callus, corns, and sore areas that can result in falls.
Depth shoes are good for balance as they often support the foot higher toward the ankle.
Anything with a very high sole or anything that puts you off the ground creates more imbalance. Avoid any shoe with a sole over ½ inch.
Shoes with good padding are more comfortable and are recommended, but too much padding will be like walking on sand and may cause imbalance if you are too high in the shoe.
Avoid excessively slick-soled shoes, as well as those that are too “grippy.” Soles that are excessively slick or slippery, or the opposite, too “grippy”, can cause falls. A crepe sole is one recommendation because it also absorbs shock.
Velcro laces are ideal, but Velcro latching is often neglected, thus creating a situation where the shoe can become too loose. Shoes with laces are fine, so long as they are tied snug to create a good fit.
Diabetics and seniors should also avoid open-toed shoes, sandals, or flip flops.
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