Choosing Walking Shoes for Seniors
Like other parts of our body, our feet are not immune to the changes that come with getting older. As the body ages, physiological changes take place that make seniors more susceptible to foot pain and foot problems. In fact, one out of every three people over the age of 65 suffers from aching feet. Furthermore, additional health conditions that are more common as we age, including diabetes, arthritis and vascular disease, can compound these issues.
Sadly, people who suffer from foot pain can find that it interferes not just with their daily activities, but also with more basic functions such as getting out of bed in the morning, going up or down stairs, or even maintaining balance.
For their health and well-being, seniors should be attentive to any changes in the feeling or appearance of their feet and take the necessary steps to address issues when they develop.
Most common foot problems for seniors
Arthritis – Arthritis can be the cause of painful, swollen feet. Rheumatoid arthritis and gout can cause foot deformities, which can make each step painful.
Diabetes – Diabetes can disrupt circulation to the feet or inhibit feeling in the feet. Patients with diabetes may also have ulcers on their feet that will not heal.
Heel Pain - Chronic heel pain can be annoying, and some may simply brush it off as a mere inconvenience. However, its effects on our ability to perform simple activities such as walking could make life a daily struggle in our later years. Flat feet or an overly arched foot can lead to heel inflammation.
Bunions – A bunion occurs when an individual has a bony growth or a misaligned bone at the bottom of the big toe. This can cause the big toe to begin turning inward toward the small toe. The bone itself can become quite painful.
Corns and Calluses -Extra skin that develops on our soles can be caused by friction from our skin rubbing against poorly fitting shoes. The loss of moisture and oil in our skin deprives us from our natural lubricants. Calluses and corns are a similar type of problem except that they are located on the heel of the foot.
Problems with Toenails – Many foot problems can be linked back to problems with the toenails, including toenail fungus and even painful ingrown toenails.
Hammertoes – Toe joints that begin to curl up or under is a sign of a foot deformity called hammertoe. The abnormal bending can lead to a joint that is permanently dislocated and can be quite painful.
Insufficient cushioning on the bottom of the feet - Compressed natural padding in the soles of your feet means you have a thinner protective layer between your bones and the ground, which increases your chances for developing metatarsalgia and neuromas.
For a more in depth discussion on common foot problems as we age, please see our article, " Common Foot Problems in Your 50s and Beyond”.
KEEPING YOUR FEET HEALTHY AS YOU AGE
Walking and staying active is a critical part of a healthy foot regimen. Mobility helps you maintain a stable weight and strengthens your muscles, so that you’re less susceptible to serious damage if you are injured or become ill. Wearing orthopedic shoes for seniors that enhance mobility and minimize foot pain is another critical aspect of maintaining healthy feet.
It's especially important to avoid tight shoes that put undue pressure on the foot. The constant rubbing and pinching from this type of "fashionable" footwear are a major cause of corns, calluses, bunions and increased foot pain.
THE BENEFITS OF A GOOD PAIR OF SENIORS’ WALKING SHOES
There are numerous important benefits to wearing proper walking shoes for seniors:
• They help us stay active.
• They aid our balance and alignment.
• They help keep the muscles in our feet from becoming weak.
• Comfortable walking shoes for seniors also provide important protection and mechanical support to the feet, which helps them improve mobility and enhance comfort.
• Wearing adaptive walking shoes for seniors that fit properly improve overall quality of living, as wearing ill-fitting shoes can adversely affect mood and outlook.
How to choose walking shoes for seniors?
When shopping for comfortable walking shoes for seniors, there are several key features to look for:
Contoured orthotic insoles. The best walking shoes for seniors have contoured orthotic insoles that provide anatomical arch support, and alleviate stress and pressure on the joints and the bottom of the feet.
Protective interior with extra cushioning. The shoe should have a protective interior lining that is not too tight and doesn’t constrict the foot. The interior should be seam-free, soft, and padded with extra foam. The shoe uppers should be stretchable so that they can conform to the contours of the foot.
• Extra depth. Walking shoes for seniors should also have an extra-depth design that can accommodate orthotics, as well as a wide toe box for extra room for the toes.
• Low heels. Make sure that the shoes have a low or flat heel too so that you are less likely to fall or twist an ankle.
No laces. A no-lace closure is important for people with arthritis or those who have difficulty bending down to reach their shoe laces. Velcro shoes for seniors that can be fastened on both sides of the shoe or a tie-less lacing system that combines laces and straps on both sides of the shoe, so there is no need to lace up the shoe, are excellent solutions to this issue.
• Easy slip-on. The shoes should be easy to slip on, with a wide opening and easy fastening on both sides of the shoe.
Orthofeet has a wide selection of men’s and women’s orthopedic or adaptive shoes to fit just about every need, style and foot condition. Don’t worry if you order the wrong size or style either. Orthofeet shoes are risk-free to order as you can return or exchange them free of charge (no shipping or restocking fees) within 60 days from the date of purchase if you are not fully satisfied with them.