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It's Not You, It's Your Shoes

You frequently hear about ways to make your home and environment safer, but what if it's your shoes that are also a danger?

Do you shoes look like this? Find the right ones for you.
Many people don't think about their shoes being culprits of increasing their risk of falling unless they are wearing high heels (and let's face it, those can give anyone balance problems if they are high enough). However, in a study conducted by Dr. Carol Frey, director of the Foot and Ankle Center at Orthopedic Hospital, found that 70 percent of older people who fell were actually wearing flat shoes such as oxfords or athletic shoes.

Most people think of athletic shoes as sturdy and safer when thinking about avoiding falls. However, that study found that those shoes were actually to blame in falls because they caught, dragged on the floor, or were too slippery on some surfaces.

Wondering what type of shoes you should be wearing? Here's a few tips on how to choose the best ones for you:

  • Avoid any shoes that have worn soles or smooth soles. These can pose a threat on almost any surface, particularly tile, wood, and wet surfaces. Not having traction is extremely dangerous.
  • Make sure your shoes and slippers are the correct fit. The size you wear in one brand might not be the exact same in another. Sizing also changes with the type of shoe. For instance, what size you take in an athletic shoe might not be the same as slippers. Take the time to find the right brands for your foot and make sure they aren't too loose or wide.
  • Avoid thick rubber soles. While these might seem like they get good traction, it's very easy to trip in them. Take a look at the toe of your shoes. Do they have rubber tips on them? These can actually cause you stumble more often than not. Try something with a less bulky sole and a rounded toe.
  • Go for a more secure fit. While slip on shoes and slippers are always more convenient and easier to get on, they are also more likely to trip you up. Try elastic laces or shoes with a snug fit.
  • Find a balance between cushion and balance. Lots of cushioning doesn't always mean a better shoe. It can actually make you more unstable on any surface because it isn't giving your feet and ankles the support you need to keep your balance. Look for a shoe that is comfortable, but stable.
For more ideas on how to prevent falls at home, download our free guide "50+ Ways To Prevent Falls".

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