Old people,recommends a new research study, should not go around barefoot or wearing just slippers or shoes with no socks to prevent falls and other serious injuries.
Prevention of falls among older adults is a major clinical and public health concern, and hence the study has important implications in fall prevention programs.
"Therefore, older people should wear shoes at home whenever possible to minimize their risk of falling," says senior author Marian T. Hannan, D.Sc., M.P.H., co-director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at the Institute for Aging Research.
During an assessment, participants were asked what type of shoe they usually wear - amongst athletic shoes (sneakers), flat-sole canvas shoes, oxfords or other tied shoes, loafers, sandals, pumps, slippers, socks or stockings only, or barefoot - and then followed for 27.5 months.
Of those who reported falling, more than 18 percent were barefoot when they fell. Nearly 27 percent were wearing slippers and 7 percent were wearing socks only.
Dr. Hannan said that wearing well fitting, low-heeled shoes with slip-resistant soles seemed sensible but designing an optimal shoe type for seniors will need to take into account such issues as foot problems and the ease of putting them on and taking them off.
The study will be published in the summer issue of the journal Footwear Science.