The morphology of a person’s feet varies as they age. According to a study from the University of A Coruña, older adults who choose the inappropriate shoes frequently experience anxiety, apathy, loss of balance, and falls if their shoe size does not alter along with these changes.
In 2015, a research team led by the University of A Coruña conducted a study with people with a mean age of 80 years.
In it, they examined whether older people’s altered foot morphology and pain tolerance caused them to wear the incorrect footwear. The majority (83%) did not utilize the proper size, and occasionally they should have been using a different size for each foot, they determined.
As Daniel López López, a scientist at the University of A Coruña who led this study, explains: “In this stage of life there are changes in foot morphology involving increased width and length, as well as changes in pain tolerance, linked to age, and the loss of muscle mass and fatty tissue on the feet.”
For the first time, the effects of this bad shoe choice on senior people’s health have been examined in a new study led by López.
“Because of people’s lifestyles at this age, they can use shoes that are harmful to their feet. This, combined with the appearance of chronic diseases such as obesity, vascular diseases, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, causes a worrying increase in foot problems in elderly people of between 71% and 87%. This means having to seek medical and podiatric attention more frequently, as it affects their functional capacity and quality of life,” the scientist explains.
The study is published in the Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira (the Brazilian Medical Association’s journal).
Additionally, regular visits and monitoring on the part of a podiatrist helps to prevent, control and reduce the appearance of foot diseases and deformities, increase autonomy and, in summary, improve people’s quality of life.Daniel López López
Decreased independence and wellbeing
Volunteers from the University of A Coruña’s Podiatry University Clinic, with an average age of 75, participated in this research endeavor as participants.
Their findings show that elderly individuals who wear the incorrect footwear have lower quality of life across the board, including in relation to pain, foot function, footwear, food health, general health, physical activity, social capacity, and vitality.
The most prevalent conditions include flat feet, plantar keratosis, bunions, toenail abnormalities, and foot bone deformities.
“This often leads to chronic pain, infections, limited mobility when walking, anxiety, apathy, social disturbances, changes to pressure distribution in feet related to loss of balance and falls, which as a result negatively impact upon health, independence and well-being,” López informs us.
These people should wear appropriate footwear, often wide-fit shoes with rubber soles that can be adjusted with Velcro or straps, to prevent slipping and falling and, as a result, lessen the pressure and stress on their joints while they walk.
“Additionally, regular visits and monitoring on the part of a podiatrist helps to prevent, control and reduce the appearance of foot diseases and deformities, increase autonomy and, in summary, improve people’s quality of life,” López concludes.