Fall Prevention Through Better Shoes

Footwear can play an imperative role in fall prevention through the improvement of balance and foot comfort. Read on to learn more about shoes and their inherent abilities in pain reduction and balance.

Pain Reduction

As we age our feet change. Not only do they get longer, wider and often flatter, but many of us will also suffer Xsensible Allure Velcrofrom toe deformities, such as hammer toes, mallet toes, bunions, hallux valgus and more. These deformities can make it challenging to find the proper fit and often will require modifications to footwear, such as stretching, cutouts and heating, to name but a few.

Other alternatives, such as extra depth footwear, are designed to increase space around the forefoot and thus help prevent friction and pressure that may result in blisters, sores or in the case of the diabetic foot, ulcerations (open wounds). With the introduction of nylon fabrics and the invention of the stretchable shoe, many shoes can now also be heat molded to reduce pressure where needed.

Better Stability

There are several options to help improve balance and stability through footwear. We recommend you choose low EtonicMinado heeled footwear with outflares (soles that flare outwards), to decrease lateral (sideways) movement, and a base wide enough to accommodate your feet. With most shoes offering removable insoles, the best way to check that you are choosing the right width and length is to remove the insole and stand on it whilst in the shop. Your toes and feet should not overlap the edges of the insole and you should have at least a finger width of space at the end of the insole.

If dress shoes are needed for everyday use, choose shoes with a wedge, as opposed to an offset heel. If an offset heel is a must, be sure to select a heel with a wider base as opposed to a stiletto heel. This will ensure better support and prevent nasty ankle sprains. Also, stick to heels that aren’t higher than an inch, in order to prevent excessive pressures on the forefoot.

Arch Supports & Orthotics

Custom Foot OrthoticsIn certain cases shoes may require custom-made or off-the-shelf inserts to reduce pressure on the plantar (bottom) aspect of the foot. They help prevent excessive inward or outward rolling of the foot and improve toe function that may be impeded by a collapsed arch. Preventing the foot from excessive side to side movements through the use of supports can also improve balance in individuals suffering from instability, Parkinsons, Charcot Marie Tooth disease or foot pain.


Arthritis can occur in any of our 300+ joints and feet are very often affected. Most often our clients will experience pain in their big toe joint, as well as the midfoot, ankle and toes. Much of the pain can be remedied through better footwear that helps prevent joint motion and thus reduces pressure on the area of discomfort. To prevent pressure on the big toe joint, in case of limited range of motion, we often recommend rocker soled footwear to help prevent flexion of the painful joint, thus preventing missteps that may lead to falls. Midfoot pain is usually best addressed through arch support.

In general we recommend that if the shoe feels comfortable on the first try, wear it.

About the Author

Christian Johannsen is a Certified Pedorthist at Foot Solutions in Ambleside (West Vancouver) and Kitsilano (Vancouver). For additional information or to schedule an appointment or home visit, please contact him at (604) 925-2282 or (604) 267-7463.

Get Active with Balance Walking

As discussed on the AM650 breakfast show with Gerry O’Day.

Purchase a set of pink poles before October 31st, 2010 and Foot Solutions of Vancouver will donate $15.00 for each pink pole sold to Cancer Research in BC. That’s not all. Purchase a pink pole between now and December 21, 2011 and our head office will donate an additional $5.00 for each pink pole sale to Breast Cancer Research (with a minimum guaranteed donation of $100,000.00). So what are you waiting for, join our Balance Walking Club, get active and start spreading the word.

As featured on the Gerry O'Day Morning Show AM650

What is Balance Walking?

The “Balance Walking Movement” is a fit-for-life program that involves simple changes that anyone can do. It will help you adjust to a lifestyle that is right for a healthier, more active you, with as little as fifteen minutes per day. You will feel energized, relaxed, look and act years younger – no pills – no excuses – you can do this now!

The 4 Pillars of Balance Walking

1. Low Impact Activity

This is the major cornerstone of the Balance Walking Program. The technique is based on Balance Pole Walking. You will engage your core muscle groups while aligning your body for improved posture and body function. You will burn up to 50% more calories than regular walking.


2. Stress Reduction

Stress, along with being a contributor to your belt size, is also a factor in many other health issues, including obesity, heart disease and breast cancer. Since the goal of Balance Walking is to become healthier and more active, stress reduction is an important cornerstone of the program. This simple approach will rejuvenate your mind and body.


3. Food for Life

Throw diets out! They just do not work long-term. Eating is a joy of life that should be enjoyed. By eating less processed and more natural foods, as well as eating smaller portions more often, eating can be both enjoyable and healthy. You’ll stop counting calories and worrying about what you can’t eat, and will be more satisfied. Eat, drink and be merry – life is simple, why do we complicate it?


4. Toning

Maintaining and toning muscles will keep you looking younger and more active. Balance Walking includes some simple non time-consuming ways to maintain and tone your body, which will also kick start your metabolism rate! The average person loses approximately 30% of their muscle mass between the ages of 20 – 70.


How do I get started?

Join our local Balance Walking group at “Balance Walking Vancouver” on meetup.com and RSVP for our next introductory session (1st Saturday of each month). Or, purchase* a set of pink poles at your local Foot Solutions store, in support of Cancer research, and join our active Balance Walkers on their weekly walks. See “Balance Walking Vancouver” for all upcoming walks in your area.

* We’ll be sure to give you a jump-start on the technique when you visit us to purchase your poles. However, we do recommend you to stop in for our introductory session to learn more about Balance Walking technique, meet fellow Balance Walkers, and more. Other pole colours available.

Help Us raise $2,000 for BC Cancer Research!

From now until October 31, 2010 Foot Solutions of Vancouver will donate $15.00 of every “Pink Balance Walking Pole” purchase to the BC Cancer Society. In addition to our donations, Foot Solutions Corporate will donate $5.00 for every pole and $2.00 for every Balance Walking Book sold to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, benefiting breast cancer research. Support our goal of $2,000 and be sure to join our “Balance Walking Club” to get the most out of your new purchase.

Welcome to Vancouver Feet.

Thank you for stopping in. Stay tuned as more content will be added shortly. Vancouver Feet is aiming to be your primary resource for information pertaining to the lower extremity, bringing you valuable articles from Vancouver based health professionals. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about your feet!

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