The real cost of a fall. And how to prevent it.
We probably all know an older person who has "had a fall". In fact, statistically it's very likely since falls, particularly in the elderly, are very common. They can be, although are not always by any means, very serious with bruised or broken hips, elbows or legs, and they can even be deadly.
They can also be very avoidable.
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 30% of people older than 65 and 50% of people older than 80 fall at least once a year. In fact, falls are the most common cause of death from injury in the UK in the over 65s.
This of course has a huge impact on the person, but also their families. A loss of mobility means dependence on other people to help out a lot, and when this falls on already busy families then feelings of "being a burden" can develop and be difficult to shake. And for those without families to depend on, a fall could mean a move into a retirement home.
Even less immediately serious physical injuries can have a lasting impact. A loss of confidence can be one of the most damaging mental or emotional consequences, causing wariness to exercise or undertake certain activities, which can begin a downward spiral.
What causes falls?
With such consequences, it's clearly important to understand the cause of falls, so that we can begin to put things in to place NOW to prevent them from happening to ourselves or loved ones. Don't wait for it to happen.
Firstly, get checked out
Ensuring your loved one can attend regular health check-ups, including vision, hearing and physical health monitoring can be of great help. Catch any health problems before they become major issues and have them addressed. A full check up might uncover blood pressure issues or something else that could easily result in a fall
Little things can make big differences too. Like making sure loved ones are able to open their curtains, or replace curtains with easier to manage blinds to ensure sufficient light can get into the home and perhaps take the time to review furniture layouts to reduce the risk of obstructions that could become trip hazards and cause a fall.
NHS guidelines suggest that:
Adults aged 65 & over should aim to be physically active every day;
Any activity is better than none. The more you do the better, even if it's just light activity, such as a gentle stroll;
It is also important to undertake activities that improve muscle strength, balance and flexibility - such as yoga or tai chi, which you can find many classes up & down the country suitable for older people, or gardening - at least twice each week;
If possible, "do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity" per week, such as brisk walking, dancing or riding a bike, "or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you are already active, or a combination of both."
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/physical-activity-guidelines-older-adults/#what-activities-strengthen-muscles Examples of exercise routines are available here
Gentle strolls can be the simplest way to get your exercise but even this can be a challenge if you have a health condition.
Why are the wrong size shoes so dangerous?
Well, would you believe that, according to the University Hospitals of Leicester, 24,000 over-65s in the UK fall over at home every year because of poorly fitting footwear? Men's shoes are made for men's feet and shoes that are too long result in loss of control and increase the likelihood of catching on an edge, lip or step.
In finding DB Wider Fit Shoes, our customers have been able to find shoes that offer the required width in their shoe size - making them far safer, especially around stairs, kerbs and even bumps on the pavement. And those who were buying men's shoes to get the width are able to choose from a huge range of feminine styles of all types, ensuring they can remain confident to get out of the house and keep active.
There are styles across our range that are suitable to all, including wide and extra-wide fitting everyday shoes, built for comfort and all-day wear, trainers with grippy soles and either lace-up or strap fastenings for a secure fit to suit your hand motility, and sandals with adjustable back straps and even full backs – for a secure fit to reduce trip hazards.
Our Everyday Shoes range features many of our best-selling shoes because they're – as people keep telling us – "the comfiest shoes you’ll ever wear"!
Designed for comfort and packed with features they're a real treat for your feet. Best-selling Rory is arthritis, diabetes and bunion-friendly, in beautifully soft leather with a seam-free toe-box to prevent rubbing and sitting atop our air-bubble sole.
Swan has a similar list of features but with a cute lace-up design that offers the most secure fit alongside great adjustability.
It's not just trips that can cause falls, slips can also be a problem. Good grip is always important but especially in colder, wetter months and so many of our trainer styles include a grippy rubber sole to keep you from slipping.
Wide-fitting trainer Scaup has a grippy rubber sole and flared sole to keep you sure of foot and stable while out and about. The removable insoles and adjustable laces mean that you can ensure a snug fit for your foot.
Riley, also built on our flared, grippy rubber sole, comes with twin cut-to-fit straps for an easier fastening, whilst still offering a secure fit but is designed to open really wide to ensure the easiest access possible for swollen or extra-wide feet.
Need an orthotic? One foot swells while the other one doesn't? Fear not! Our Variable Width footwear could be just what you need to get out of the house without needing to buy 2 pairs of shoes.
These styles come with removable insoles. If one foot is more swollen, or you need to insert an orthotic, you can remove the insoles from the shoe, increasing the width and depth while the other remains the same size.
Most of our styles are now available in our three variable width fittings, to suit your needs: Wide V (E-EEE) fitting – can be converted from E-EEE fitting through removal of insoles Wider 2V (EE-4E) fitting – can be converted from EE-4E fitting through removal of insoles
Our 6V variable width fitting is the widest and deepest fitting available on the market without buying bespoke, so you can be sure that we have the shoe for you!
Read our guide to width-fittings
What other shoe features help prevent falls?
Other important factors in preventing falls are support and stability offered by the shoes.
Firstly, old shoes that have worn out may lose some of this support and become "sloppy2 as backs or soles wear out, so it is important that shoes are replaced before reaching this stage.
But there are also other features that improve the support and stability of a shoe, and our shoes offer these in spades.
Shoes with supportive back stiffeners Most of our shoes, boots and slippers come with supportive back-stiffeners and built-in heel cup, to support your heel as you walk, including many of our sandals even, whilst some other sandals have a back-strap to avoid slipping.
Kylie is one of our all-time best-selling sandals. Arthritis and bunion-friendly and great for feet that swell, it is built on our air-bubble sole for extra cushioning as you walk and has removable insoles for the insertion of your own specialist insole or for extra room. The cut-to-fit straps open up really wide too for extra easy access for swollen feet and the back-stiffener adds support where you need it.
In addition to the air-bubble sole, back-stiffener and removable insoles found in Kylie, popular lace-up sandal Hazel also has adjustable laces and a removable tongue.
Shoes with flared soles for stability Our wide and extra-wide shoes are built on specially designed wide shoe lasts, which naturally offer a wider base than less wide shoes, therefore providing more stability from the outset but, additionally, our active styles and trainers like Diss, Whitworth or Hawaii (among others), feature a flared sole that’s wider at the bottom to provide even more stability and can aid in preventing rolled ankles.
Shoes with flared soles for stability
Replace those sloppy slippers.
Because many slippers have thinner soles for round the house wear, they can soon wear out, especially if you're homebound and spend a lot of time in them. And because slippers don't have stiffeners built into them they can become floppy and unsupportive, which makes them a real trip hazard, especially if you've already bought 1 size up to get the extra width your feet need!
Supportive back stiffeners provide improved stability and support whilst hard-wearing outsoles can be worn in- or outdoors. Individual styles have further features like seam-free toe-boxes to reduce rubbing, round & deep toe-boxes to give lots of room for toes, stretch uppers to mould to the shape of your foot or front-opening touch fastening straps to provide both easy access AND a secure fit.
What’s more, many of our slippers and house shoes feature our air-bubble sole, so you can be sure of comfort all-day.
But these features don't mean you need to compromise on style and comfort.
Martha is a house shoe designed for indoor wear that’s smart enough to pass an outdoor shoe. It provides the all-day comfort of a House Shoe but with a hard-wearing, grippy rubber sole that can be worn outside and is arthritis and bunion-friendly. Or Harper, a warm & comfortable luxurious velour slipper with faux-fur lining to keep feet toasty on cold winter days and wide-opening touch-fastening strap for easy access.
All of the above are available in our 2V (EE-4E) or 6V (6E-8E) variable width fittings, meaning style and comfort for even the widest feet.
Our pump style slippers, like Pedro, have elasticated toplines for a secure fitting and, like others, also have heel stiffeners for extra support and grippy rubber sole to prevent slips. They’re good for feet that swell as well as being arthritis and bunion-friendly.
Pitsford is a cute, contemporary style house shoe with polka dots that is super comfy and loafer style.
All of our slippers and house shoes (excluding Hawk and Guillemot) are made with no animal products, making them vegan-friendly too.
Ensuring the perfect fit through risk free purchasing. We’ve talked at length about the importance of getting the perfect fit for your feet but we know how difficult it can be to get the perfect fit when buying shoes online.
So it’s our mission to make it as easy, risk-free and stress-free as possible to get the perfect fit.
That’s why we offer free postage on returns and exchanges on all UK orders so that, if you’re in the UK and have ordered from us and the shoes aren’t right for whatever reason, you can give us a call on 01933 311 077 to discuss the problem and our friendly, knowledgeable team will be able to suggest something more suitable for your feet. You can then return the shoes to us (unworn except for trying on) for free at any UK Post Office, to exchange for a different size, style or fitting without paying a penny more in postage until you get the perfect fit.
And, once you’ve found your perfect fit, you’ll never look back!
We hope that you agree that our wide-fitting shoes, trainers and sandals offer the perfect fit for every wide, deep or problem foot!
The verdict Whilst we can't help with all the causes of falls, we can try to highlight the dangers of falls, suggest possible preventative measures and we can certainly aid people in avoiding falls through footwear-related problems.
By wearing well-fitting shoes or house shoes instead of "buying the next size up" to provide extra width you can reduce the chance of a fall around steps and bumps considerably. And comfortable footwear that doesn't squeeze, pinch or worse, can help us to get out of the house regularly, helping us to keep active, fit & healthy, while attractive wide-fitting shoes means we can step out in confidence.
Like many of our customers say, we provide life-changing comfort. It could just be life-saving too.