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Clinical Section / Original Paper

Open Access Gateway

Effects of Indoor Footwear on Balance and Gait Patterns in Community-Dwelling Older Women

Menz H.B.a, b · Auhl M.a · Munteanu S.E.a, b

Author affiliations

aDiscipline of Podiatry, and bLa Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia

Corresponding Author

Hylton B. Menz

Discipline of Podiatry, School of Allied Health

College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University

Melbourne, VIC 3086 (Australia)

E-Mail h.menz@latrobe.edu.au

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Gerontology 2017;63:129-136

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Abstract

Background: Footwear worn indoors is generally less supportive than outdoor footwear and may increase the risk of falls. Objective: To evaluate balance ability and gait patterns in older women while wearing different styles of indoor footwear: a backless slipper and an enclosed slipper designed to optimise balance. Methods: Older women (n = 30) aged 65-83 years (mean 74.4, SD 5.6) performed a series of laboratory tests of balance ability (postural sway, limits of stability, and tandem walking, measured with the NeuroCom® Balance Master) and gait patterns (walking speed, cadence, and step length, measured with the GAITRite® walkway) while wearing (1) socks, (2) backless slippers with a soft sole, and (3) enclosed slippers with a firm sole and Velcro® fastening. Perceptions of the footwear were also documented using a structured questionnaire. Results: Significant overall effects of footwear were observed for postural sway, the limits of stability test (directional control), the tandem walk test (step width and end sway), and temporospatial gait patterns (walking speed, cadence, and step length). No footwear effects were observed for maximum excursion when performing the limits of stability test or for speed when performing the tandem walk test. Post hoc tests indicated that performances were best while wearing the enclosed slippers, intermediate with socks, and worst with backless slippers. The enclosed slippers were perceived to be more attractive, comfortable, and well fitted, but heavier than the backless slippers. Most participants (n = 23; 77%) reported that they would consider wearing the enclosed slippers to reduce their risk of falling. Conclusion: Indoor footwear with an enclosed heel, Velcro® fastening, and a firm sole optimises balance and gait compared to backless slippers, and is therefore recommended to reduce the risk of falling.

© 2016 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Section / Original Paper

Received: June 21, 2016
Accepted: August 04, 2016
Published online: September 03, 2016
Issue release date: February 2017

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 3

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

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


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This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND). Usage and distribution for commercial purposes as well as any distribution of modified material requires written permission. 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. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.