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Footwear for Seniors/Boomers: Support for Foot Arches Prevents Pain, Bone Spurs

Footwear for senior citizens and baby boomers should support our arches . For many of us, our feet become wider and flatter with age, making support for the arch of the foot more important.

We should realize we are candidates for corrective insoles if we wake up with pain in the arches of our feet, or in our heels. It may seem strange to have foot pain after six to eight hours of bed rest, rather than during or after activities, but this is how the prolonged effect takes place. Another symptom is if you find that your heels are rolling inward.

The specific part of the foot that is protesting is known as the plantar fascia, which in layman’s terms is the padding of fibrous tissue. If we don’t support our arches within our footwear, the plantar fascia becomes stretched and irritated and spurs may develop.

For just one example, the basketball star Larry Bird was forced to retire in his prime years, during the early 1990s, because he developed painful bone spurs on his feet, and Larry Bird was only in his mid 30s when he made his swan song on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team. We are never too young to look out for our feet.

Because we ask our feet to do so much work for us, we need to make sure that as much of the foot as possible shares the brunt of the impact for each step we take. Those of us with high arches require insoles that apply pressure and support up into those arches, or otherwise we are requiring the heel and the sides of the arches to do extra work. Those of us with flat feet need insoles that create a sort of artificial arch. The arches often are supported by lifting the heels slightly higher.

Our feet won’t just feel better. So will our knees and our lower back areas. Our mental outlooks also will remain strong, because we’ll be able to spend more time on our feet.


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Footwear for Seniors/Boomers: Special Tips for Proper Footwear Fit

Footwear is the most important clothing item for senior citizens and baby boomers, at least in terms of our comfort and our health. We may focus on a tailer-made suit or custom-fitted gown for a special occasion, or even shop carefully (and with a fashion consciousness) for our work outfits or our leisure apparel. However, footwear is our only clothing item that impacts the earth ‘s surface, unless our slacks or jeans are way too long.

Our blazers, or our shirts and blouses, need not absorb the small but steady jolts of 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. This why we must treat the feet, first and foremost, starting with a proper fit for our footwear. Three-quarters of senior citizens and baby boomers, at some point in our lives, will encounter foot pain. For those fortunate among us, foot pain will come and go. For others, foot pain is persistent.

The first thing we can do is to make sure our shoes fit, and guess what? Instead of just dispersing this general advice, we’re going to give you a few original tips that may not have crossed your mind:

1. Check your shoe size later in the day, because feet can swell as the day goes on.
2. Check the sizes of both feet. Through the years, one may have become larger or wider than the other.
3. Keep in mind that even on a dress shoe, a lace-up style offers more ability to adjust for better comfort and support.
4. Walk on carpet, not just a hard surface, to determine whether your shoes fit properly. Carpeting provides a different experience than a wood or tile floor.
5. Finally, make sure you can wiggle all of your toes up in those new shoes, not just the big ones.

Look at it this way: If a fellow’s pants are hitched too high, he looks like a doofus. If a fellow’s shoes don’t fit right, he walks like a doofus. The difference in the second scenario is that physical pain and health issues come into play. Don’t be a shoe-fit doofus!


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Footwear for Seniors/Boomers: Athletic Footwear is Also Good for Non-Athletes, Non-Runners

More power to the senior citizens and baby boomers among us who still get out and run or jog, either through the neighborhood or at the local fitness center. Still, even those among us who are not marathon men or marathon women can benefit from wearing athletic footwear, specifically running shoes.

All of us need to take care of our feet, whether we sign up for a 10-kilometer run, or we walk 100 yards from the parking lot into the shopping mall. Athletic footwear and running shoes have many orthopedic qualities that not only promote comfort, but foot health in general.

Podiatrists say they recommend athletic footwear and running shoes to the age 50-plus crowd, but sometimes we resist, specifically those among us who no longer go out running or no longer take part in competitive sports. The problem is that we would be embarrassed to be seen in what we consider to be younger people’s fashions. We don’t pierce our noses with rings, and our pants don’t sag down to the bottoms of our behinds. Thus, why would we be seen in footwear endorsed by the latest 20-something big-time sports star?

At the same time, we don’t want to wear orthopedic shoes either, because too often orthopedic shoes look like “old people’s shoes.” And so, we don’t want to wear “old people’s shoes” but we don’t want to wear “young people’s shoes,” either. We’re overruling a whole lot of different types of footwear. What’s a podiatrist to do?

Some manufacturers strive to compromise by selling us walking shoes rather than running shoes. If we do our research, we indeed can find high-quality and high-fitness walking shoes. But we must keep watch, because sometimes a walking shoe won’t compare to a running shoe in terms of support and cushioning. If we can overcome our modesty and try a pair of running shoes or athletic footwear, we may discover that our feet feel a whole lot better at the end of the day, even if we didn’t do any sort of special exercise.


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Footwear for Seniors / Boomers: Walk a Mile (Or Two) in Our Shoes

When buying shoes, senior citizens and baby boomers may consider this: The average adult takes about 4,000 steps per day, according to This doesn’t include any special workouts, but just the regular walking throughout the day. Those 4,000 steps add up to about 2 daily miles.

Keep our footwear in mind , seniors and boomers, as we discuss this. Every two weeks, we’re walking more than the equivalent of a marathon run, just by going to the supermarket or strolling into the nearest coffee shop for a latte. Every four years, we’re walking the equivalent of a pilgrimage from New York City to San Francisco. (That’s 2,930 miles, folks.)

Shouldn’t our footwear be comfortable ? Shouldn’t our shoes fit just right? As much as we consider ourselves to be ageless, we seniors and boomers should recognize that our feet may have special needs.

We shouldn’t be thin-skinned about owning up to these special needs for buying shoes. In fact, one result of aging is that we may notice that the skin on our feet is thinner than we once remember. Fatty cushions on the balls of our feet and the pads of our toes have decreased. This thinner skin makes us more susceptible to bumps and bruises, blisters and scrapes. If we have diabetes, we are even more vulnerable because of reduced circulation in our lower extremities. This means that we not only need to make sure that our shoes have an ideal fit, but we also need to take a look now and then to make sure that ulcers or infections and ingrown toenails are not developing.

Meanwhile, our feet are going to get longer and wider , and they may not necessarily do so at the same time. We may discover, oddly enough, that our best comfort comes from a Size 9 on one foot and a Size 8 on another, or maybe a one-half size as an alternative. It might seem like a financial pain to buy two pairs of shoes for one pair of feet, but wouldn’t the resulting comfort be worth our while? After all, we have miles more to walk before we sleep.


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Footwear for Seniors/Boomers: Insoles Are More Than Just Foot Pads

Shoe-conscious baby boomers, and especially senior citizens, may give little thought to shoe insoles. If boomers and seniors don’t follow the marketing for shoe insoles, they may wrongly perceive that the only manufacturer is Dr. Scholl’s, and that the only type is that old-fashioned thin brownish foam pad with the tiny absorption holes on top.

Today we can find an array of shoe insole products to fit (literally and figuratively) our every footwear need.

Yes, we can still find foam shoe insoles, but we can also find shoe insoles made of other materials, such as rubber and gel.

Furthermore, as baby boomers and senior citizens, we are learning that shoe insoles serve purposes other than prevention of foot pain. Comfortable footwear for everyday living, walking and athletics also can make us feel better in our knee and hip areas, and can especially help to ease and prevent soreness in the back.

Shoe insoles do more than simply reduce the jarring impact of walking and running. They also can make our shoes fit better. Let’s face it, aging makes us more prone to bunions and bone spurs and other doo-dads that can change the shapes of our feet. We also may discover that our feet may become wider and flatter with age. Shoe insoles are the variables that mold to each of our own unique foot shapes.

Sales personnel at shoe stores will tell us that the two prime benefits of shoe insoles are cushioning and support . This is well and good, but cushioning and support must be balanced. Too much cushioning can lead to not enough support, and vice-versa. We don’t want to feel like we’re walking along pathways of down pillows, but we don’t like to feel like we’re walking with bare feet on concrete, either. When it comes to shoe insoles, it’s a question of balance between cushioning and support.

If we have low and/or flat arches, the use of insoles with arch supports can be especially important. Otherwise, we may unconsciously roll our feet, leading to other foot problems.