How can the right footwear prevent falls?
Each year in the UK about one-third of people over 65 will fall. There are some simple things people can do to help themselves stay steady on their feet. One of these is wearing the right footwear. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that a multi-faceted foot care programme can reduce the number of falls by 36%. It stated that foot and ankle exercises, foot orthoses and wearing appropriate footwear are all key in preventing falls.
Which sort of shoes are unsafe?
Some footwear can increase the risk of slips, trips and falls. It can cause poor balance and gait or make it difficult to judge surface friction and distance from the floor. Examples of unsuitable footwear include:
- Loose, worn or backless slippers - there are one of the most common causes of older people falling
- Slip-on shoes such as sling backs or flip flops which can slip and trip you up
- Shoes with slippery or worn soles can cause you to slip up, especially in wet weather
- Shoes with a heel higher than one inch or with a narrow heel as they make your foot unstable and can cause your ankle to turn
What are the characteristics of a safe shoe?
Older people should be advised about the importance of wearing well-fitting shoes and about the characteristics that can aid walking and gait. These include:
- A high back or collar to support the ankle
- A hard, slip-resistant sole
- Heel height lower than one inch