Falls among seniors can unfortunately have severe consequences sometimes. The single biggest cause of accidental injuries in the home are falls, and people over the age of 65 are by far the most affected. (Cause of accidental injuries at home).

Figures from Feb 2022 from gov.uk (Falls and health) have estimated that unaddressed fall hazards, in the home, are estimated to cost the NHS in England £435 million. Wearing the right footwear can go a long way in reducing the chance of a senior person having a fall.

So what footwear can help to minimise a fall?

Firstly, wear shoes and slippers with closed heels. Closed heels help to ensure that the person’s foot will be more stable and snug in the footwear, and not slide around. An open-heeled shoe or slipper will mean that the person will often start to grip with their toes, to keep the footwear on. This can result in shuffling and increase the likelihood of a fall.

Secondly, size – the shoe needs to fit correctly, neither too tight, (which might cause foot pain) nor too loose (as the foot slips and slides again).

Thirdly, heel height – a low heel is best; high heels, whatever age, are bad for posture, balance, and how we walk. Low-heeled shoes provide greater stability and heels should ideally be no more than one inch high.

Fourthly, shoe weight, design, and sole – you want some flexibility on the sole of the shoe, but not too much, as this could contribute to a twisted ankle. Shoes need a good tread and be made of slip-resistant material. The shoe should also not be too heavy as they may have trouble lifting their feet which may result in a shuffle and a fall.

Lastly, when you decide to buy some new shoes, do so in the afternoon, as often the feet can swell later in the day, which will impact the width of the shoe that is suitable.

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