If your older parents are always complaining about their feet being sore, the solution may simply be to buy a better pair of shoes. Here's how you can help your parents choose the best shoes for their feet.

Convince your parents that shoes can make a big difference in their comfort level.

Your parents may insist that their shoes are fine and that their foot discomfort is just a natural thing that they have to deal with. But foot pain does not necessarily need to be a part of aging. To help convince your parents to start wearing new shoes, share the following information:

  • As people age, their feet tend to flatten out. That means that shoe styles that were once comfortable may no longer be comfortable anymore.
  • Older people tend to experience loss of muscle mass. People begin to walk differently to compensate for that loss. Wearing the right shoe can also help compensate for loss of muscle by helping improve stability and balance.
  • Shoes were not built to last forever. Walking shoes generally last up to 500 miles, at which point they cannot provide adequate support. Even if your parent might not be walking long distances, newer shoes provide more cushioning and stability, both of which can prevent foot pain.

Which shoe is the right choice?

First, make sure your parent gets sized in the shoe store. Feet may have grown larger since the last time they were sized (if at all). Some estimate that some people over 40 can gain a half size every 10 years. Amazingly, it's estimated that 88% of women in the US are wearing shoes that are too small for them. Any reputable shoe store will be able to size your parents' feet by length and width, as both are important to finding the right fit.

Next, choose shoes that have good cushioning in the heel to compensate for the thinning of the natural fat padding in feet that older people experience. Shoes that are too thin or only have a hard sole at the heel with no padding can quickly cause heel pain.

Finally, choose shoes that have a heel no greater than 1 or 1.5 inches. Heels higher than that are more likely to cause falls. Falls can be quite dangerous as bones become more brittle with age.

What else can you do?

If your parents' feet are still uncomfortable even after you've helped them purchase the best pair of shoes, encourage them to visit a podiatrist.

A podiatrist, a doctor specifically trained to help with foot and ankle issues, can professionally determine whether there are structural problems that need to be addressed surgically. The podiatrist may also prescribe \physical therapy, suggest orthotics, and perform minor procedures to help address underlying causes of foot pain and discomfort.

For more information, contact a local podiatrist, like those found at Mitchell Foot & Ankle.