Barefoot seniors more prone to fall down

Elders are more prone to injury, especially falling.  The downfall of old age is that the recovery from injury is much slower than the young people.  A new study reveals that older people should not walk bare foot, slippers or socks without the shoes to avoid serious injuries, including fractures, sprains, dislocations, and pulled or torn muscles, ligaments or tendons, as a result of their fall.

A study was conducted, in which participants were asked the type of shoe they usually wear – amongst athletic shoes (sneakers), flat-sole canvas shoes, oxfords or other tied shoes, loafers, sandals, pumps, slippers, socks or stockings only, or barefoot – and then followed for 27.5 months.  

The study showed that 18% of the elderly were barefoot, when they fell; nearly 27% were wearing slippers and 7% were wearing socks only. The study will be published in the summer issue of the journal Footwear Science

Marian T. Hannan, D.Sc. M.P.H., co-director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at the Institute for Aging Research said that “older people should wear shoes at home whenever possible to minimize their risk of falling.” 

Dr. Hannan...

also acknowledged that it makes sense for elderly to wear shoes that fit well with low heels and slip resistant soles.  Furthermore, the optimal design of the shoe for elderly should consider issues as foot problems and the ease of putting them on and taking them off.

We have seen advertisement from shoe manufacturers such as Reebok, Nike marketing shoes that are great from running and various athletes.  To me the study suggests that the shoe manufacturers should focus on the design of shoes for elderly people so that chances of falling due to improper footwear is minimized.  The study did not present the cost incurred to health system due to fall of seniors, I think a proper shoe may reduce this cost as well.

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