Are you one of the 87% of older adults who suffer from foot pain? If so, then check your shoe size. At least a third of older individuals who have foot pain are wearing shoes that are either one size too big or too small. By wearing properly fitted shoes, you’ll not only have better foot health, you’ll also have a better overall quality of life.
Ill-fitting shoes can lead to foot sores and pain. If your shoes are too small, you may experience constant pressure and pain on the inner and outer sides of your feet. If your shoes are too large, you can develop sores on your heels from your feet sliding out of your shoes. For seniors, foot pain can severely impact your functionality, such as your walking speed, balance, and ability to perform daily tasks – as well as your independence.
By wearing the wrong shoe size, you can disrupt the proper biomechanics of your feet, increasing your risk of falls. The biomechanics of your feet can also be affected by common foot conditions. Studies show that older individuals who have a history of multiple falls also have more foot problems, like bunions, decreased ankle flexibility, reduced strength of the toe plantarflexor muscles, and decreased sensitivity of the bottoms of the feet (the plantar surface).
Tips for Properly Fitting Your Shoes
To reduce your risk of falls, foot pain, and the development of foot problems, you should become more knowledgeable about proper shoe fit.
- A large proportion of older adults don’t know their shoe size. Therefore, you should have your feet measured at least once a year with a Brannock measuring device. This device will measure your correct toe length, arch length, and foot width. Toe length is the total length of your foot from your heel to your longest toe. Arch length is the measurement from your heel to the ball joint (1st metatarsal joint) of your foot. Foot width is the width across the ball of your foot from the 1st to the 5th metatarsal joints that determines how wide or narrow your shoe fit should be.
- You should have both of your feet measured, since most people have one foot that is larger than the other. In fact, studies show that 60% of older adults who are wearing improperly fitted shoes have a significance difference in size between their left and right feet. So, you should have your shoes fitted to your largest foot, and have the smaller foot’s shoe altered to ensure a proper fit.
- Your arch length is your reference point when choosing a size. In correctly fitted shoes, the arch of the shoe and the ball joint of the foot will be properly aligned. (This diagram shows a properly fitted shoe for correct foot and shoe flexion.) The ball of your foot should fit snugly, but comfortably, in the ball joint area of your shoe. Your foot and shoe should bend at the same location, and your arch should be fully supported. Shoes that are improperly fitted and too short for the arch length will confine your toes and cause foot discomfort and fatigue. This can also lead to improper gait.
- You should try on both shoes with socks. Shoe sizes can vary between manufacturers, brands and styles. Plus, sock weight plays a role in how well your shoes fit.
- You should select shoes that conform to the natural shape of your foot. Shoes with a tapered-toe box shape work well on slender, tapered feet. Shoes with a square toe box fit better on broader feet.
- You should stand and walk around in both shoes to ensure they fit and feel comfortable. Check to make sure there is at least ½” of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Plus, check for foot sliding and slipping within the shoe. In a properly fitted shoe, your feet will feel more secure with minimal to no sliding or slippage.
- You shouldn’t buy shoes that are too tight and expect them to stretch to fit your feet later, because they probably won’t.
- If you have any foot problems, you should visit a pedorthic shoe store for a professional, personalized shoe fitting. A thorough shoe fitting/buying consultation may take up to an hour.
- If you have any foot conditions or gait issues, you should consider buying custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Performance Insoles, for your shoes. The ezWalker® insole is biomechanically designed to evenly redistribute your weight on your feet, reducing pressure that may contribute to the development of sores or foot pain. Additionally, these performance insoles guide your feet into better alignment, providing you with greater stability and balance.
For more information on how to obtain a proper shoe fit, see our Shoe Fitting Guide.
ezWalker® Performance Insoles are ultra-thin and ¾ length, so they will fit a wide variety of shoes. Plus, we offer a 90-day, money-back guarantee, so you’ve got nothing to lose but your foot pain. With properly fitted shoes and ezWalker® Performance Insoles, you’ll experience better foot health and a better quality of life. So order your ezWalker® insoles today!
Put an ezWalker® in your shoes and put a smile on your face. Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.