The Best Orthopedic Shoes for Seniors
July 25, 2023
Choosing the Best Orthopedic Shoes for Seniors
Choosing the right footwear for elderly people is crucial for their safety, comfort, and overall well-being. As individuals age, their feet undergo various changes, such as decreased fat padding, reduced flexibility, and potential foot conditions. The right pair of orthopedic shoes can help to alleviate pain, improve balance, and enhance comfort for seniors looking to become more active.
Here are some factors to consider and the best types of orthopedic shoes for seniors:
What to look for when shopping for orthopedic shoes for seniors:
- Comfort: Comfort is important when selecting shoes for seniors. Shoes should have a cushioned insole, arch support, and a roomy toe box for foot deformities or swelling.
- Stability: Look for shoes with a non-slip sole and a firm grip to prevent slips, trips, and falls, which are common among elderly individuals.
- Ease of Use: Shoes with adjustable closures, such as Velcro straps or elastic laces, are easier to put on and take off, especially for seniors with limited dexterity.
- Lightweight: Heavy shoes can increase the risk of stumbling. Opt for lightweight materials to reduce the strain on their legs and feet.
- Breathability: Proper ventilation is essential to prevent fungal infections and keep the feet dry and comfortable.
- Function: Determine what you are hoping to do when you are in your new shoes. Small but important details can make a shoe ideal for walking around the block, taking group exercise classes, or simply walking around the home. Be sure you know what main function your new shoes will be providing before you start to look for options.
- Fashion: Orthopedic shoes are more fashionable today than they were even 10 years ago. This is great news for you if you want to be comfortable and pain-free but still express your personal style.
- Physician recommendation: Your doctor or podiatrist can provide recommendations for shoe features that would work best for your specific conditions or concerns. Talk to them before you start searching online or in stores.
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Men
Plantar fasciitis causes serious pain, especially when movement starts, and it can feel debilitating. Fortunately, the right shoes and support can reduce pain and improve daily movement.
Adults living with diabetes already know that smart foot care is imperative in order to reduce wounds and increase blood flow. The right shoes can keep your feet feeling their best.
Mobility challenges can make bending down to put on and tie shoes more challenging as we age. Slip-on shoes are an excellent option that make getting ready and out the door even easier for those living with mobility issues.
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Women
Walking is the best low-impact exercise that almost anyone can do. However, foot pain can keep you from logging your miles. The right shoe can not only help your feet feel better, but can also decrease low back and leg pain that can sometimes come from improper footwear.
A slip-on shoe can not only be great for walking a favorite trail, but can also look stylish for coffee with the girls or a mid-week shopping trip.
What are the most common foot problems in seniors?
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are common in seniors, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the feet.
- Bunions: Bunions are bony protrusions that form at the base of the big toe. This causes the toe to lean inward toward the other toes. They can be painful and result in difficulty finding suitable footwear.
- Corns and Calluses: These are areas of thickened, hardened skin that develop due to friction or pressure on the feet, often caused by ill-fitting shoes.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, which causes heel pain, especially during the first steps in the morning or after periods of rest.
- Ingrown Toenails: Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, redness, as well as the risk of infection.
- Hammertoes: Hammertoes are characterized by an abnormal bending of the toe joints, causing the toes to take on a claw-like appearance. They can lead to discomfort and corns or calluses.
- Morton’s Neuroma: A painful condition from the thickening of tissue around the nerve between the toes. This causes a burning or tingling sensation in the ball of the foot.
- Flat Feet: Flat feet occur when the arches of the feet collapse, leading to reduced shock absorption and potential pain and strain on the feet.
- Heel Spurs: Heel spurs are bony growths that form on the heel bone, often resulting from long-term plantar fasciitis or excessive pressure on the heel.
- Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that commonly affects the big toe. It occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate in the joint, leading to severe pain and inflammation.
- Peripheral Neuropathy: Nerve damage in the feet, known as peripheral neuropathy, can cause tingling, numbness, or weakness, increasing the risk of falls and injuries.
- Fungal Infections: Seniors may be more susceptible to fungal infections like athlete’s foot due to decreased circulation and compromised immune systems.
- Foot Ulcers: Elderly individuals with diabetes may develop foot ulcers due to reduced blood flow and neuropathy, which can lead to slow-healing wounds.
Haley Burress – Writer, Senior Health Expert
Haley is a freelance writer specializing in senior health, caregiver support, and other topics relevant to older adults and aging. For more than 15 years, she had the honor of working in various senior living communities serving residents, families, and professional caregivers in local and national leadership roles. She uses that experience and those opportunities as she writes reliable, relatable, and realistic information that is designed to both educate and empower.
Over the past decade, Haley has had the opportunity to write informational resources, including extensive caregiver curriculum and training, for small and large senior service organizations. Her readers expect her to break down the sometimes overwhelming and frustrating information that comes with navigating senior living research, Medicare, and other social-emotional health topics.
When she isn’t writing at her desk (or at a corner table at her favorite coffee shop), Haley is usually walking her dog Junie around the neighborhood, exploring a new trail with her husband and teenage son, or sweating out stress on her Peloton bike. Just like other writers, Haley almost always has her nose in a book.