How the Right Shoes Can Make All the Difference for Mobility Issues!

Right Shoes3

Right shoes take you good places

Shoes have always been important to me.  I remember begging my parents for the newest and “coolest” styles, mainly basketball shoes.  I know I am not the only one – almost everyone has gone through the same routine at some point. 

As my Ataxia has progressed, I have searched out shoes with good traction and that are very lightweight. Heavier shoes always feel like cement blocks on my feet! I thought those were the most important factors, and I didn’t look at other features. 

However, recently, my physical therapist gave me a list of recommended shoes, and I must admit, the difference is quite noticeable. Below, I will explain the reasons behind the right shoes and give you the list so that you can find what works for you.

For many individuals with mobility issues, choosing the proper footwear can impact your comfort, safety, and overall quality of life. Our shoes play an essential role in supporting mobility and reducing the risk of falls.

Understanding Mobility Issues and Footwear Needs

Mobility issues often lead to struggles with balance, stability, and walking.  Therefore, the footwear needs of people with mobility issues differ from those of the general population.

Proper footwear serves several important purposes for those of us with mobility limitations:

Support and Stability:  Proper footwear provides support to help distribute your body weight evenly and reduce strain on vulnerable areas like the ankles, knees, and hips.  Shoes with firm heel counters and good arch support can enhance stability.

Cushioning and Comfort:  Shoes with adequate cushioning and shock absorption help minimize the impact forces and reduce discomfort during movement.

Fall Prevention:  Falls are a significant risk for people with mobility challenges.   Proper footwear with non-slip soles and a secure fit can improve traction and reduce the possibility of falls and related injuries.

Accommodation of Orthotic Devices: Many individuals with mobility issues use custom orthotic inserts or braces to support their feet. The right footwear should comfortably and effectively accommodate these devices.

Features of Ideal Footwear for Mobility Issues

Sturdy and Supportive Construction: Look for shoes with a firm heel counter (the back of the shoe that holds the heel in place), adequate arch support, and a wide base for stability. Avoid shoes that are too flexible or flimsy.

Low Heel and Wide Toe Box:  A low or no heel reduces strain on the feet and promotes a more natural walking pattern.  A wide toe box allows for any toe deformities or orthotic devices without causing discomfort.

Cushioning and Shock Absorption:  Choose shoes with cushioned midsoles and insoles to absorb impact and reduce pressure on sensitive joints.  Materials like memory foam or gel inserts can enhance comfort.

Non-Slip Outsole:  Look for shoes with a rubber outsole that offers good traction on various surfaces.  This feature is crucial for preventing slips and falls, especially in wet or slippery conditions.

Adjustable Closures: Shoes with adjustable closures, such as Velcro straps or laces, allow for a customized fit and accommodate foot swelling or changes in size throughout the day.

Tips for Choosing and Using Footwear

Professional Fitting:  Visit a specialty shoe store or consult a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist for a professional fitting.  They can recommend footwear based on individual needs and foot anatomy. 

  • Side note: When I went to the specialty stores, they did not offer a fitting. I don’t go to many physical stores anymore, so maybe that is just the way things are done now. I did try on a few sizes, so I will have some idea when I got back online.

Try Shoes Later in the Day:  Feet tend to swell as the day wears on.  Try on shoes in the afternoon or evening when feet are at their largest to ensure a proper fit.

Consider Functionality:  Choose shoes appropriate for specific activities. For instance, supportive walking shoes for daily outings, stable slippers for indoor use, and sturdy boots for outdoor activities.

Regular Inspections:  Check footwear regularly for signs of wear and tear.  Replace shoes when they no longer provide adequate support or traction.

Combine with Assistive Devices:  Coordinate footwear choices with assistive devices like canes or walkers.  Make sure it is user-friendly and compatible.

New Balance 860 v13

  • I purchased this pair and can highly recommend them. I also have high arches, so these fit me very well.
  • It is a great overall shoe for average to high-arch individuals.  Heel, arch, and big toe sense during the gait cycle with a wider toe box.
  • Amazon has many options for Men, Women, and Kids.
Right Shoes
Kid’s New Balance 860 v13
Right Shoes
Men’s New Balance 860 v13
Women’s New Balance 860 v13

Brooks Adrenaline (GTS) 23:  Great overall shoe for average arch individuals.  For heel, arch, and big toe sense during the gait cycle.  Amazon has great choices for Men and Women.

Men’s Brooks Adrenaline (GTS) 23
Right Shoes
Women’s Brooks Adrenaline (GTS) 23

**Additional choices.  Good shoes but not their (PT) top choice:

  • New Balance 880 v13:  Shoes for a high arch.  Men and Women
  • Brooks Ghost 15:  Shoes for a high arch.  Men and Women
  • Saucony Guide 16:  Shoes for average to low arch.  Men and Women

Conclusion

When it comes to managing movement, appropriate footwear is essential. By prioritizing supportive, comfortable shoes, those of us with mobility challenges can enhance their stability, reduce discomfort, and lower the risk of falls. Investing in shoes that are appropriate for our needs can enhance quality of life and encourage independence.  Remember to seek professional advice when selecting footwear and look for features that prioritize safety and comfort. 

Please share your thoughts and/or comments on this or any other article.  And if you would like to get involved and share your experience with Ataxia, don’t hesitate to contact me.  Join Our Community today, where we empower you to build a healthy lifestyle and raise your overdue ataxia awareness.  Experience transformative storytelling and share your story to inspire positive change.


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