For Older People, Shoes Goeth Before a Fall

(March '98) - Shoes may seem something of a pedestrian subject but the shoes that older people choose are being accused of increasing their risk of falls and injuries.

What's new, you ask? They shouldn't be wearing high heels at their age anyway. No wonder the elderly are always falling down!

Older people should show a little sense and wear sturdy shoes, you say. Old-fashioned Oxfords, loafers, or athletic shoes. They're safer, aren't they? Well, the answer seems to be "No!"

A new study has shown just the opposite. Fully two-thirds of older people who fall are wearing those old-fashioned Oxfords, loafers, or athletic shoes. The study by Dr. Carol Frey, director of the Foot and Ankle Center at Orthopedic Hospital in Los Angeles, was presented recently at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Dr. Frey studied 185 men and women over 55 who had fallen and injured themselves during a one-year period. Among those 65 and older, shoes were frequently at fault for the falls that resulted in the injuries. Avoiding a fall may be as simple as changing your shoes.

Dr, Frey's study is the subject of an article by the health writer Jane E. Brody entitled "When the elderly fall, shoes may be at fault" published in The New York Times (Feb. 24).

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors