Safe footwear healthy choice

Maintaining footwear in good condition will not only increase the life of the shoes, boots or slippers, but also keep seniors healthy by helping to prevent falls.

  • Sep. 22, 2011 11:00 a.m.

Maintaining footwear in good condition will not only increase the life of the shoes, boots or slippers, but also keep seniors healthy by helping to prevent falls.

When seniors wear proper footwear, then the general health of their feet will be maintained, which is essential for seniors with diabetes.

Seniors will often not purchase new shoes or repair old shoes. The soles of their shoes eventually become cracked and catch on surfaces which may cause a person to trip.

If seniors with diabetes are wearing shoes that have soles with holes in them and they step on something that cuts their feet, they might not be aware of the injuries they have incurred.

These injuries could go unnoticed for sometime if the seniors are not able to see the bottoms of their feet.

Ladies often let the heels of their shoes wear down to the metal. Besides damaging the shoes, the chances are increased for falling. There needs to be an even surface on the bottom of the heel of the shoe.

Many soles but in particular leather soles can be slippery. To prevent this slickness a thin rubber sole can be attached to the leather sole to provide traction.

There are both summer and winter top soles that can be put on and changed as the seasons do for better traction and protection just like summer and winter tires for your car,

Seniors should wear shoes and slippers that are designed to give support around the total foot. Footwear that is designed to just slide the foot into is not safe for seniors to wear.

It is too easy for the foot to slide out and for the seniors to trip and fall.

Slippers should have a non-slip sole. This is particularly important as they may be worn in bathrooms with granite or marble floors which have a slippery surface.

Some seniors with arthritis may have problems tying shoelaces and then do not bother, which becomes another tripping hazard.

For them, the answer might be to wear shoes with Velcro closures. Shoes with adjustable Velcro closures are also great for people whose feet swell up during the day.

New shoes can be tight during that ‘break-in’ period.  However, seniors do not need to suffer with footwear that is too tight. Leather can be gently stretched to fit the size of the senior’s foot. This is particularly helpful if one foot tends to swell up more than the other, and is also useful for seniors with bunions and corns.

For family members who are always looking for gifts there are 24-inch long shoe horns that are useful for those who have problems bending over or putting on their shoes.

During the winter, an easy and inexpensive way to help prevent slipping and breaking a hip is to get traction on ice and snow by wearing a pair of traction aids on the bottom of your shoes.

Thank you to Jim Belshaw from Roy’s Shoes, 250-763-5696, for providing information for my column this week.

Sharen Marteny is a services consultant for seniors in Kelowna.



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