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Table of Contents
Vol. 52, No. 3, 2006
Issue release date: April 2006
Section title: Clinical Section
Gerontology 2006;52:174–180
(DOI:10.1159/000091827)

Footwear Characteristics and Risk of Indoor and Outdoor Falls in Older People

Menz H.B.a · Morris M.E.b · Lord S.R.c
aMusculoskeletal Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, bSchool of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, and

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Section

Received: October 28, 2005
Accepted: December 21, 2005
Published online: April 27, 2006
Issue release date: April 2006

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER

Abstract

Background: Footwear characteristics have been shown to influence balance in older people; however, the relationship between footwear and falls is unclear. Objective: To determine the relationships between footwear characteristics and the risk of indoor and outdoor falls in older people. Methods: Footwear characteristics (shoe type, heel height, heel counter height, heel width, critical tipping angle, method of fixation, heel counter stiffness, sole rigidity and flexion point, tread pattern and sole hardness) were assessed in 176 people (56 men and 120 women) aged 62–96 (mean age 80.1, SD 6.4) residing in a retirement village. Falls were recorded over a 12-month follow-up period and comparisons made between fallers and non-fallers. Results: 50 participants (29%) fell indoors and 36 (21%) fell outdoors. After controlling for age, gender, demographic characteristics, medication use, physiological falls risk factors and foot problems, those who fell indoors were more likely to go barefoot or wear socks inside the home (OR = 13.74; 95% CI 3.88–48.61, p < 0.01). However, there were no significant differences in indoor or outdoor footwear characteristics between fallers and non-fallers. Five indoor fallers (10%) and three outdoor fallers (8%) stated that their shoes contributed to their fall. Conclusion: Footwear characteristics were not significantly associated with falls either inside or outside the home. Risk of falling indoors was associated with going barefoot or wearing socks. Older people at risk of falling should therefore be advised to wear shoes indoors where possible.

© 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Section

Received: October 28, 2005
Accepted: December 21, 2005
Published online: April 27, 2006
Issue release date: April 2006

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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