Wearing socks and slippers with little traction or going barefoot may be one of the leading causes of most falls suffered by elderly people while at home, according to findings published in Footwear Science. In fact, studies have found that 52 percent of fractures, sprains, dislocations and pulled or torn muscles occur because of unsafe footwear.
Researchers from the Musculoskeletal Research Center at the Institute for Aging Research conducted a 28-month trial, which included examining elderly participants homes and what type of shoes, socks or slippers they wore in their houses.
The results of the study showed that 18 percent of individuals who suffered falls werent wearing shoes, while 27 percent reported they were wearing socks. Approximately 7 percent of participants were wearing socks at the time of their injuries.
Investigators concluded that designing a shoe specifically made for older people, including those who have foot problems, could help prevent future injuries.
“Our findings show that older people going barefoot, wearing only socks, or wearing slippers may be at considerably increased risk of falls in their homes,” says senior author Marian T. Hannan, co-director of the center. She added that “older people should wear shoes at home whenever possible to minimize their risk of falling.”
Every year, more than one third of U.S. population aged 65 years and older suffer fall-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.