Older Adults Who Wear Athletic Shoes Have The Lowest Risk Of Falling
The choice of footwear for adults age 65 and older can play a role in helping this population prevent falls. A study recently published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society monitored a large group aged 65 and older, over a two year period. A total of 327 falls occurred during this period, most taking place inside or near the home.
We do not need to go into great detail about the study other than footwear was divided into categories based on shoe design and also included the category of going shoeless, which included barefoot or stocking feet. Athletic shoes with a relatively wide rubber or crepe sole, low heel height and a large contact between the shoe sole and the walking surface were very instrumental in preventing falls and painful injury such as hip and other fractures, head injuries and hospitalization.
Stocking feet provided a poor level of friction and were more prone to slipping and falling than bare feet.
The research indicates that the risk of the fall depends significantly on whether the older person is wearing footwear and what type. Other types of footwear such as loafers, flats, sandals, slippers and even oxford shoes did not provide the protection that is provided by athletic shoes.
Certainly the recommendation would have to be to avoid going barefoot or only wearing socks. This is an invitation to a painful fall and injury.
Older adults would do well to pay attention to this research.