Slips are a common cause of falls, and nonslip socks have been marketed to prevent slips in older people. However, few studies have investigated the biomechanical and clinical effects of walking in nonslip socks. This study aimed to examine gait parameters in older people walking on a slippery surface wearing nonslip socks compared with standard sock and barefoot conditions.
Fifteen older people completed five trials of the fast-paced Timed Up and Go test while barefoot and while wearing standard socks and nonslip socks. Kinematic data (step length, heel horizontal velocity at heel strike, and foot-floor angle at heel strike) and clinical data (total Timed Up and Go test time, total number of steps, number of steps in turn, and observed slips, trips, or falls) were collected.
Performance on the Timed Up and Go test did not differ between the barefoot and nonslip sock conditions; however, participants walked more slowly and took shorter steps when wearing standard socks. Participants rated nonslip socks to feel less slippery than barefoot and standard socks.
Compared with wearing standard socks, wearing nonslip socks improves gait performance and may be beneficial in reducing the risk of slipping in older people. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(6): 471–479, 2013)
Lower-extremity problems are common in older people; however, the reliability of clinical tools used to assess foot and ankle characteristics has not been rigorously evaluated. This study evaluated the test–retest reliability of a battery of simple clinical tests of foot and ankle characteristics (tactile sensitivity of the first metatarsophalangeal joint, navicular height, foot length and width, hallux valgus severity, an overall foot problem score, ankle flexibility, ankle dorsiflexion strength, and foot pain) in 31 individuals (13 men and 18 women) aged 76 to 87 years recruited from the community. Three examiners performed the tests on two occasions approximately 2 weeks apart. Intraclass correlation coefficients and coefficients of variation were calculated for continuously scored tests, and the kappa statistic (κ) was used to determine the reliability of hallux valgus severity grading. All of the continuously scored tests had acceptable reliability (intraclass correlation coefficients of 0.64 to 0.98; coefficients of variation of 0.6% to 15.0%), as did hallux valgus severity grading (κ = 0.77; absolute percentage agreement, 84%). These simple clinical tests can now be used with confidence in clinical and research settings to provide reliable and functionally important information regarding foot and ankle characteristics in older people. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(5): 380-387, 2003)