Extra-Depth Shoes Make a Difference
Older people who have foot pain associated with aging, diabetes, or changes to the structure of the foot can get relief from wearing the right kind of shoes. A new study based in Australia compared a group of seniors who wore extra deep, extra wide shoes marketed to people with foot pain with a group of seniors who wore their regular shoes. After four months, the group with the extra-depth shoes reported significantly less pain as well as a reduction in callouses and corns. The shoes made a positive difference for people with a wide variety of foot pain causes, suggesting that the type of shoes patients wear can relieve pain no matter the underlying cause.
Causes of Foot Pain in the Elderly
As a person ages, his or her feet undergo changes in structure. This results in a decreased range of motion, a stiffening of soft tissue, and the tendency of the foot to bear more weight on the inner edge, a condition known as pronating. All of these changes can cause pain when walking. Other causes of foot pain include diabetic complications and an increased occurrence of corns, callouses, and bunions. Shoe choices can play a role as well, since many shoes have narrow toe boxes and do not have the depth and support needed to accommodate these changes in the structure of the foot. Ill-fitting shoes can cause pressure and rubbing, further irritating areas that are already sensitive.
Extra-depth shoes have plenty of room to accommodate bunions, hammertoes, and other painful problem areas. They allow the wearer’s foot to function normally and prevent pain due to friction and pressure. Because some older people express reluctance to wear extra-depth shoes based on their appearance, they may need the encouragement of family members or a doctor to make the switch. It’s also important that elderly people with foot problems see a podiatrist, especially if they have diabetes. Changing shoes can help, but it may not address the underlying causes of the pain. A podiatrist can help diagnose symptoms and determine if additional steps need to be taken.
Improving Quality of Life
Foot pain can be debilitating, making the simple act of walking around the house a painful experience. Sufferers may be reluctant to stand and walk regularly, leading to other health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Extra-depth shoes can help make walking feasible again, and by doing so, can also encourage elderly people to exercise more, an essential activity for maintaining health and improving the quality of their lives. An in-home caregiver can assist with small changes like helping their clients put on the new shoes, encouraging them to wear them every day, assisting with walking, and providing the support needed to remain mobile.