Dr. Heidi M. Christie and Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts, the expert podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists, treat feet of all ages, from babies to senior citizens. One of the most important things we tell our older patients is that you need to pay attention to the shoes you’re wearing. Wearing the proper shoe can increase your comfort, prevent or reduce foot problems, and help you keep your balance and prevent falls.
Here are some shoe facts that seniors and those who care for them should know:
- Size matters. According to the American Geriatric Society, 75% of people over the age of 65 are wearing shoes that are too small. Wow – what can explain such an incredibly high percentage? For one thing, many people aren’t aware that foot size can change over time. That size 8 you wore at age 20 won’t necessarily be appropriate at age 70. In addition, seniors with a limited income may put shopping for new shoes on the back burner, making do with shoes that don’t really fit anymore.
- Put safety first. As much as Nonna wants to remain fashionable, you may need to convince her that it’s time to give up her heels in favor of a more stable platform. Any shoes with slippery soles need to go, too.
- Keep it simple. A shoe that’s hard to put on is a safety hazard as well. Velcro closings are a great idea for seniors who have difficulty putting shoes on
- Diabetes makes a difference. Seniors with diabetes have special needs when it comes to protecting their feet. Our diabetic shoe program is one of only two in our tri-county area. We encourage you to make an appointment for a personal, professional shoe fitting right here in our office.
Seniors who think that their current shoes are good enough should be encouraged to think again. The time and money you save now by continuing to wear a shoe that may be the wrong fit or an unsafe style could very well be spent on medical care later on. Flat feet, bunions, hammertoes, corns, and calluses are all common foot problems in the elderly that can be exacerbated by wearing inappropriate shoes. And if your shoes contribute to your taking a fall — is it really worth keeping them?