Stilettos, wedges and pumps are the love of life for women in their 20s, 30s and even 40s whose life’s greatest priorities include looking good too. It’s a period during which every woman tries to look her level best, be chic, smart and powerful. Ageing brings about a lot of changes (visit www.firsteatright.com for a big list of these) including changes in foot morphology that includes width and length differences besides changes in pain tolerance linked to age. Our feet might change due to age and our once favorite shoes might no longer be comfortable nor safe to wear in our older years. An uncomfortable and ill-fitted shoe is a pain at any age and such conditions during old age implies double trouble.
Often, we hear our grandmas and grandpas quoting that they are still young and age is just a number that doesn’t affect their daily functioning in life. In order to prove this right, they try to lead lives following a lifestyle that’s similar to their early stages in life and this leads to unwanted complications sometimes in their lives. Already these people are at a pronounced risk or in fact, suffer from conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and obesity which coupled with their improper lifestyle routines (such as using shoes that are harmful to their feet) can lead to increase in foot problems between 71% and 87%. We do have research studies that using the wrong shoes does affect quality of life as it obstructs physical activity, overall body health, foot health and social movement. Disease-wise, use of incorrect footwear can lead to greater chances of foot bone deformities, toenail malformations, plantar keratosis and flat feet that impact health in the form of infections, pain, limited movement, anxiety, stress and falls. Seniors using footwear are advised to buy those that have a wide fit, adjustable using velcro/straps, made of rubber soles to prevent slips and falls, low heel height, broad enough, snug fit and easy to put it on and remove it.
Get the Right Fit
A team of researchers concluded that shoes that fit when we were young might become unsafe and uncomfortable to use in our elderly age as older people tend to have a lower arch and increased circumference on the forefoot, ankle and instep when compared to younger people. How you walk and what kind of pressure you impose on your knees can have an overall impact on your health. When the shoes used by old people don’t fit right it can result in painful toes, feet and heels. All these increase the risk of falls, sprains, fractures and chronic pain that can have debilitating psychological impact on the individual.
This doesn’t mean that elderly people should wear loose-fitting shoes as this again can affect the way the person walks, speed of walk and cause irregular gait pattern while tight-fitting shoes can cause pain. Are you someone who still loves to walk around with heels despite old age? Maybe you can do wear ones that have lower and broader heels rather than pointed ones that can cause imbalance and instability. In fact, its been noted that those women who are used to wearing heels all these years and suddenly switch over to flats end up experiencing pain. While we don’t have insights about an ideal shoe design for the elderly adults it is always preferred to pick those that have rigid insoles that provide posture stability, broad surface soles that improve balance and arch support that ensures functional mobility and better balance.
While going to buy for a pair of shoes the first thing to look for is the perfect fit and comfort, next comes grip and finally you need to choose your style. These days there are different models to choose from-comfort fit, elegant fit and so on that come with cushioning, extremely reliable soles and grip for the feet. Choose the one that fits your requirements without falling a prey to marketing gimmicks and looks.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.