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  • Writer's pictureDiana Jamerson

Could it be the shoes?

As a caregiver for a senior, I am always looking for the hidden signs of health issues. We all know that our senior parents and grandparents can sometimes be very stoic, not wanting to seem that they are a “bother” and that everything is “just fine”. Although they may be saying those kinds of words with their mouth, their body is showing you something much different. The most common signs of pain in the legs, feet, hip and back in a senior citizen usually get written off as arthritis with pain medication following.

When my lovely senior came to live with me and I noted the signs of pain in the body upon walking, I also noted the dated shoes she was wearing and I remembered that when I was walking 3+ miles a day, my shoes would wear out. They looked fine on the outside, but the instep and inner support would break down and I would have a lot of pain in my feet, calves, legs and hips. I also noted that all of this pain would quickly disappear after I purchased new shoes.

Armed with this knowledge, I managed to get my lovely senior to try some new shoes and I believe the great feel they gave to her feet made the sale. She bought 3 beautiful pair of walking shoes and the signs of pain with walking are gone. She is also so improved, that on our last shopping trip, she felt confident enough to go without her cane and indeed was walking with good strength and balance.

Sometimes seniors can either forget how aged their shoes actually are or they have become so familiar with the pain in their body that they have not put 2 and 2 together for the answer. A good pair of comfortable shoes with adequate support can take a great degree of pain out of the body. Besides being comfortable, a good pair of shoes has many other benefits for you and your feet.

· Reduces injuries and falls. As we get older, we tend to lose our balance, leading to injuries and falls. A sturdy pair of shoes can help us feel more grounded, thus reducing the number of injuries and falls.

· Keeps us active. If you’re wearing a good pair of shoes, you’re more likely to move around. When we keep moving, we are helping to improve our heart health as well as prevent other medical issues like obesity and diabetes

· Weak feet lead to other problems. When you don’t have a solid pair of shoes, your feet can become weak, leading other body parts to overcompensate for what the feet are not doing.

· Back problems and knee problems are common issues that can result from wearing inadequate shoes. When you wear shoes that are good for your feet, your whole body reaps the benefits.

What to look for in a good pair of shoes for Seniors:

Non-slip sole. The sole must firmly grip the surface no matter if it’s wet or dry and should be light and shock-absorbent for a softer impact on the heels and ankles.

Shoe material should be breathable. If the material is tight and constricts the foot it will not be comfortable to walk on nor will it be practical.

High-back. If there is ample support in the back it will support the ankle as well.

Flat or low heel. Heels should be less than one inch tall.

Wide-mouth. A wide opening for the foot is especially good if your foot tends to swell. The wider mouths are roomier and much more comfortable.

No laces. If balance is an issue or if you have trouble bending down, then it’s probably a better idea to go with no laces.

Soft & padded shoes. If shoes are soft and padded, they’ll fit well and offer extra protection against irritation and friction that can cause blisters.

Investing in a good pair of shoes is good for your health!

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