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How the right shoes can stop you from falling

Stay mobile for longer with the right footwear
Remember pestering your Mum for that special pair of shoes? And as soon as you had them on you could immediately run much faster and jump much higher? Of course, it was just your imagination! Or, was it…?

Actually, the right shoes really do have an effect on your daily activities. It’s certainly true that for older people the right footwear can make the difference between getting across the road safely or a potentially lethal fall.

Is someone in your family at heightened risk of falling? Perhaps because of balance problems, or reduced mobility–or some other problem? Why not make an appointment with a podotherapist or other foot-care professional. With just a few simple tests a professional will be able to decide exactly what footwear will help Mum or Dad.

Our bodies rest on our feet, so it’s important to wear high-quality footwear, even around the house. Just popping to the kitchen barefoot seems harmless enough; but there’s a high risk of falling. Perhaps try to get your Mum or Dad not to wear flip-flops; they have poor-quality soles and cause a lot of accidents.

7 tips for the right shoes for over-65s

Use these 7 tips to reduce your Mum or Dad’s risk of falling to the minimum:

  • Sturdy support – avoid worn out or very flexible shoes. Choose soles that are thick and as stiff as possible for better stability.
  • The correct size – Buy shoes measured exactly to the shape and size of the foot. Shoes that are too big can cause cramp in the feet, too small and they can cause corns and callouses
  • Closed shoes – the best thing for older people is to avoid open footwear; sling-backs and the like lack stability and give too little support.
  • A sole of the right thickness – suitable footwear for the over-65s should have soles no more than 1.5cm thick. Is your mum or dad standing too high off the ground? That can cause them to lose their balance and fall over. Sole inserts don’t help here, either.
  • Light weight – stout, thick-soled shoes make for plenty of stability, but they can make easy progress difficult, so we’d advise lightweight shoes. Make sure they have good grippy soles, so that Mum or Dad aren’t walking too flexibly…
  • Grip – a smooth sole increases the chance of slipping. Make sure that the soles provide enough grip. Keep an eye on the state of shoes; are they showing signs of wearing out? Replace them immediately!
  • Well-laced – Make sure shoes are well-secured to the foot. There’s nothing more dangerous for older folk than loose-fitting shoes. They can lose their footing, turn an ankle, or worse still have a nasty fall.

Valpreventie has some tips for older people and their carers who are looking for the right footwear. But although the right shoes help reduce the risk of falling, stairs can still be a challenge for Mum or Dad. Stannah-Stairlifts help older people remain independent by giving them back the ability to keep moving about their own home. Like to know about the support we can offer? Click on “Why Stannah” in the main menu.