Footwear interventions, including shoe insoles and foot orthoses, have the capacity to enhance balance control and gait in older people. This review assessed the evidence for the effect of footwear interventions on static and dynamic balance performance and gait in older populations and explored proposed theories for underlying sensorimotor and mechanical mechanisms. We searched the Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL (the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), and AMED databases and conducted hand searches. Of 115 relevant articles screened, 14 met the predefined inclusion criteria. Articles were grouped into one of three categories based on balance task (static balance performance during quiet standing, dynamic balance performance during walking, and dynamic balance performance during perturbed standing or functional tasks) and were scored for methodological quality using the Downs and Black Quality Index tool. Footwear interventions seem to alter underlying strategies controlling static and dynamic movement patterns through a combination of sensorimotor and mechanical mechanisms in older people, including those with chronic sensory and musculoskeletal conditions. Evidence shows a consistent trend toward footwear interventions markedly improving lateral stability measures, which are predictors of falls in the elderly. In-depth investigation of neurophysiologic responses to footwear interventions is necessary to help confirm any sensorimotor adaptations. The long-term effects of footwear interventions on balance, gait, and the prevention of falls in older people require further investigation. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(6): 516–533, 2013)
Despite falls being a major concern for people living with somatosensory deficit, little is known about the perceived impact of footwear and footwear features on balance. Clinical relevance is increased given that therapeutic footwear is often provided to people with diabetes to reduce foot ulcer risk. This qualitative study aims to explore the experiences and views of people with diabetes and neuropathy who have recently fallen to understand whether footwear type is perceived to affect balance or contribute to falling.
Sixteen individuals (13 men and three women aged 44–83 years) were purposively sampled from a larger population of potential participants. Audio-recorded, in-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted in participant homes or at a place preferable to them. Once transcribed verbatim, the data were themed, charted, and interpreted using a framework approach.
Although most participants did not believe that the footwear in which they fell contributed to their fall, most revealed how footwear choice influenced their balance confidence to undertake daily tasks. Most found their therapeutic footwear “difficult” to walk in, “heavy, or “slippery bottomed.” Design recommendations for enhanced balance included a close fit with tight fastening, lightweight, substantial tread, and a firm, molded sole/insole. Complying with these recommendations, the hiking sandal was believed to be the most stable and safe shoe and was frequently worn as a walking aid to reduce fear of falling and boost confidence.
People with diabetic neuropathy have disease-specific needs and concerns relating to how footwear affects balance. Engaging with patients to address those needs and concerns is likely to improve the feasibility and acceptability of therapeutic footwear to reduce foot ulcer risk and boost balance confidence. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(6): 508–515, 2013)
Diabetic foot complications are costly and often recurrent. The use of diabetic footwear has been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of diabetic foot ulcerations. For diabetic footwear to be most effective, it must be worn at least 60% of the time. All reported rates of compliance fall well short of this level. The style and appearance of the shoe have been commonly blamed for this poor compliance. This study evaluates patients’ motivations and perceptions regarding diabetic footwear. A patient’s decision to use diabetic footwear is based on the perceived value of the shoe and not on the patient’s previous history of foot complications or the aesthetics of diabetic footwear. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(6): 485-491, 2003)
The hypothesis of this study was that shoe hardness and footwear affect ankle coordinative strategies during the running stance period. Subjects ran at a self-selected pace under three conditions—barefoot, wearing a hard shoe, and wearing a soft shoe—while sagittal and frontal view kinematic data were collected. Dynamic systems theory tools were used to explore ankle coordinative strategies under the three conditions. No significant differences in coordination were found between the two shoe conditions. However, significant differences in ankle coordinative strategies existed between the shoe conditions and the barefoot condition. Changes in coordinative strategies may be related to different mechanisms to attenuate impact forces while running barefoot. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(1): 53-58, 2004)
Drug based treatment of superficial fungal infections, such as onychomycosis, is not the only defense. Sanitization of footwear such as shoes, socks/stockings, and other textiles is integral to the prevention of recurrence, and reduction of spread for superficial fungal mycoses. The goal of this review was to examine the available methods of sanitization for footwear and textiles against superficial fungal infections. A systematic literature search of various sanitization devices and methods that could be applied to footwear and textiles using PubMed, Scopus, and MEDLINE was performed. Fifty-four studies were found relevant to the different methodologies, devices, and techniques of sanitization as it pertains to superficial fungal infections of the feet. These included topics of basic sanitization, antifungal and antimicrobial materials, sanitization chemicals and powder, laundering, ultraviolet, ozone, non-thermal plasma, microwave radiation, essential oils, and natural plant extracts. In management of onychomycosis it is necessary to think beyond treatment of the nail, as infections enter through the skin. Those prone to onychomycosis should examine their environment, including surfaces, shoes, and socks, and ensure that proper sanitization is implemented.
This study aims to investigate the effect of taekwondo footwear on unilateral stance stability and use of postural control strategies and to determine whether taekwondo footwear influences the somatosensory inputs for postural stability and postural strategies in young adults.
A quasi-randomized crossover trial was conducted on 33 healthy young adults at a university research laboratory. Independent variables, including shoe conditions (shoes on and shoes off) and visual conditions (eyes open and eyes closed), were taken into account. The center of gravity (COG) sway velocity in unilateral stance and the strategy scores in the sensory organization test were measured. No intervention was given to the participants.
There was no significant interaction between the two factors (the shoe and visual conditions) for COG sway velocities (P = .447) and strategy scores (P = .320). The shoe condition was not significant in either COG sway velocity (P = .484) or strategy score (P = .126). The visual condition was significant for COG sway velocity (P < .001) but not for strategy score (P = .573). The mean ± SD COG sway velocity with eyes open was 0.7° ± 0.2°/sec and with eyes closed was 1.7° ± 0.6°/sec (P < .001).
Taekwondo footwear is unlikely to affect somatosensory inputs and balance performance in young adults. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(4): 291–296, 2013)
Background: Falls are a major clinical problem in the hospital setting. This study examined the prevalence of foot pathology and footwear type likely to increase the risk of falls in two subacute-care hospital wards serving elderly patients.
Methods: Two wards of a subacute aged-care hospital were selected for study. Patients were assessed for the presence of foot pathology, and their footwear was evaluated for characteristics identified in the literature as placing individuals at increased risk of falls.
Results: Of 44 patients assessed, 98% had foot pathology, and 41% had foot pathology requiring podiatric medical management. Eighty-six percent of inpatients wore footwear that was likely to increase their risk of falls, with 66% wearing slippers or moccasins.
Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate the need for hospital inpatients who are identified as being at high risk for falling, or have a history of falls, to undergo an assessment of their foot pathology and footwear so that appropriate measures can be taken to address these risk factors. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(3): 213–217, 2007)
Background: Physical activity is important throughout the lifespan. Racket sports are popular with older adults and offer important social benefits. It is unknown how the physiologic changes attributable to aging affect lower limb loading during multidirectional sports and how this may influence footwear requirements. The purpose of this work was to explore the footwear needs and preferences of older adults in racket sports to inform footwear design and development.
Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted online with 16 participants (56–92 years of age) who typically play racket sports at least once per week. Thematic analysis was used to group basic themes into organizing themes.
Results: The organizing themes were comfort (general comfort, pain-free, and cushioning), functionality (relating to the structure of the shoe and performance), and choice (mostly around the appearance of the shoe). Comfort was a key priority for the majority of participants, although it was often stressed that the footwear must also be supportive. Support was frequently defined in relation to preventing ankle sprains; however, when asked directly about managing injury risk, avoiding certain shots and appropriate grip were mentioned over support. More than half of participants reported needing a wide-fitting sport shoe, which limited the footwear selection available to them.
Conclusions: This study provides novel insight into the footwear requirements of active older adults, which can inform the development of footwear to facilitate safe and pain-free participation in sport for all.
The number of partial-foot amputations performed is increasing, and many recommendations have been made regarding the use of prostheses and footwear designed to prevent higher-level amputations in this population. The present study investigated the use of prostheses and shoe inserts and the types of footwear worn by partial-foot amputees in the inner city to determine whether previous recommendations are being followed as well as whether new prosthetic styles are being used. The study surveyed 110 patients (73 men and 37 women) with a mean age of 58.6 years (range, 21 to 86 years) with partial-foot amputations of all levels. The results showed that about one-half of all patients wore a shoe-insert orthosis. Although 54% wore some form of special footwear to accommodate and protect the residual foot, no patient in this study wore a shoe with a rocker-bottom sole. Only one patient with a transmetatarsal amputation used a brace and only one patient in the entire study wore a modern cosmetic foot prosthesis. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(1): 34-49, 2001)
We explored gait differences in patients with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and aged-matched controls over short and long walking distances. The potential benefit of footwear for improving gait in patients with DPN was also explored.
Twelve patients with DPN and eight controls walked at their habitual speed over short (7 m) and long (20 m) distances under two conditions: barefoot and regular shoes. A validated system of body-worn sensors was used to extract spatiotemporal gait parameters. Neuropathy severity was quantified using vibratory perception threshold measured at the great toe.
Gait deterioration in the DPN group was observed during all of the walking trials. However, the difference between patients with DPN and participants in the control group achieved statistical significance only during long walking distance trials. Shod and barefoot double support times were longer in the DPN group during long walking distances (>20%, P = .03). Gait unsteadiness, defined as coefficient of variation of gait velocity, was also significantly higher in the DPN group when barefoot walking over long distances (83%, P = .008). Furthermore, there was a high correlation between neuropathy severity and gait unsteadiness best demonstrated during the barefoot walking/long walking distance condition (r = 0.77, P < .001). The addition of footwear improved gait steadiness in the DPN group by 46% (P = .02). All differences were independent of age, sex, and body mass index (P > .05).
This study suggests that gait alteration in patients with DPN is most pronounced while walking barefoot over longer distances and that footwear may improve gait steadiness in patients with DPN. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(3): 165–173, 2013)