A good pair of shoes is very important for balance especially for seniors. The feet of older people are fragile, and along with the comorbidity that many elder people have (such as diabetes) can lead to serious complications if the feet are injured. A good fit and comfortable shoes, is therefore essential in order to maintain a stable posture and balance.
It has been observed that poorly fitting shoes increase the risk of a fall, especially for the elderly. Recent studies shows, 51% of elderly people hospitalised following a fall are usually due to ill-fitting shoes. Indeed, ill-fitting shoes can create an imbalance in a person’s posture and walking. This imbalance increases the risk of falls and foot injuries.
Avoiding falls and foot injuries may lead to a better life for seniors at home, as a person who can no longer move around because of balance problems or pain is losing their independence. Most of the time, people choose their shoes based on aesthetics and fashion. However, these are not the most important criteria when choosing shoes for elderly. The ideal is to bet on practical and comfortable shoes.
In this article, we will list the best shoes for seniors with balance problems that will help reduce their chance of falling while they walk. You will also find in the article few tips to help you choose the best shoes for an elderly.
How to choose the right shoes for elderly with balance problem
A shoe has to fit comfortably
It may sound silly, but in practice, few people know how to choose the right size. And with advancing age, it gets more complicated! Sensitivity decreases, making it more difficult for people to know whether or not their shoes are tight. Finding the right size is important. A shoe that is too small can injure the person, which should be avoided at all costs, especially in cases of diabetes. A shoe that is too large will cause instability and poor ankle support. Taking a shoe that is too large will allow the foot to slip in the shoe. This increases the risk of falling.
Not all brands of shoes fit the same way. It is therefore important to try them on. To choose the right size shoe, slide your foot towards the front of the shoe so that your toes touch the tip without being bent. If you can run a finger along the back of the shoe, it is the right size. Repeat this process with both feet. It is very common for one foot to be significantly larger than the other.
Avoid shoes with lace
Bending over to tie your shoelaces can become complicated as you get older, and this activity is a source of fatigue and time loss. Moreover, a shoelace can come undone on the way. And beware of the risk of falling in this situation!
For balance, a shoe must be closed at the back. You don’t want to buy little flip-flops to slip your feet into. Because if you can slip your foot in so easily, your foot can slip out just as easily. And if you lose your shoe, you run the risk of losing your balance too. A closed shoe also protects the ankle.
Shoes with a round toe
This gives the toes room to spread out, and the toes play an important role in balance. Having your toes firmly on the ground makes you more stable. It is also advisable to favour shoes that are high in the front so that the toes have room to spread out. The toes of older people are often clawed (folded in on themselves), and they need space to avoid injury and to be able to spread out.
As the seniors have less strength, they will have trouble lifting their feet with heavy shoes. This is also increase the chance of falling, as they tend to shuffle with heavy shoes. Also make sure, the heels should not exceed an inch in height.
Choose according to seniors feet
If the seniors have edema, they may have wider feet. Choose shoes that can be adjusted in size by means of a hook-and-loop fastening system. This makes it possible to put on the shoes regardless of the size of the foot.
For fragile feet, it is necessary that the footwear is flexible in order to accommodate the various deformations without constraint and without pain. This is why there is a stretchy shoes designed to limit hyper-pressure while having good stability.
Thin and Notch soles
This makes it easier to feel the ground and its roughness, and therefore to adapt your walking to the terrain. You don’t walk the same way on uneven ground as on smooth ground. Also when we say thin sole, it does not mean poor quality sole. A shoe with cheap quality sole will tear easily. The holes in the sole will further increase balance problem in elderly as well the risk of falling. Also, shoes with notched soles are preferred. Smooth shoes will be slippery during winter or on icy roads.
Avoid slippers even at home
Just because you are at home doesn’t mean that you won’t fall down, and therefore you can’t afford to wear slippers or shoes with slippery soles. The shoe should therefore be closed at the back, with a high round toe. I recommend notched soles to avoid slipping on smooth floors.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why do our feet hurt as we age?
As we age, the feet become more fragile and certain deformities appear, such as clawed toes, hallux valgus or quintus varus, which makes it difficult to walk or even sleep. It is also common to suffer from venous, renal or cardiac insufficiencies, which affect different parts of the body, including the feet and ankles.
What are the causes of loss of balance in seniors?
The loss of balance in the elderly results from different causes and these includes:
- Muscle disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Disorders of the inner ear, identified as the organ of balance
- Diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis.
The primary risk of loss of balance in the elderly is falling, the second leading cause of accidental death for seniors. The loss of balance and the associated disorders also have effects on the daily life of the elderly and can influence their autonomy but also be accompanied by dizziness or nausea.