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Footwear and Falls Prevention

There are many risk factors for falling and wearing inappropriate footwear is one of them. An easy way to reduce your chances of falling is by eliminating hazards such as unsafe shoes and footwear. One of the first things in your falls prevention plan and is to consider changing your footwear. The Mayo Clinic and the FallProof Program both state that high heels, floppy slippers, slip-on-shoes that do not fit snug around the foot, and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in your stocking feet.

Instead, wear properly fitting, sturdy, flat shoes with nonskid soles. Sensible shoes may also reduce joint pain.

The Stepping On Program - "building confidence and reducing falls in older adults " recommend the following.

  • Firm arch support

  • Sole that is flexible under the ball of the foot

  • Covers most of the foot

  • A lightweight shoe

  • Roomy toe box for comfort

  • Lace or velcro for fastening

A Good Fit

  • At least i/2 inch between the longest toe and the inside of the shoe

  • Holds the foot well back into the show

  • Snug, firm grip at heel counter

A Sole That Grips

  • Non-slip rubber sole

  • Textured for grip, with broken border

A Heel That Is Stable AND Grips

  • Non-slip and textured

  • Low heel (less than 1-2 inches)

  • Beveled heel

  • Broad heel (at least 2 inches) with rounded edge

Successful aging includes falls prevention planning. Falls are the main reason older adults loose their independence. One in every four older adults age 65 and older falls annually, many do not return to an independent lifestyle. Reducing risk factors for falling should be part of your falls prevention plan.

Risk factors for falling include (1)biological risk factors (physical and cognitive decline, chronic disease, age and sex), (2) behavioral risk factors (wearing inappropriate footwear, multiple mediations, excessive alcohol intake, physical inactivity, poor diet), (3)environmental risk factors (clutter, insecure rugs, poorly lit stairwells, inadequate lighting, pets, pet toys etc), (4)social and economical risk factors (lack of supportive services etc.).

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