Unsafe at Any Speed: Going Barefoot

BOSTON, June 25 (UPI) — Wearing slippers or going barefoot at home may contribute to falls among the elderly, U.S. researchers warn.

Researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston found 52 percent of the elderly who fell were either wearing slippers, going barefoot or in socks with no shoes.


This group was also more likely to report serious injuries — such as fractures or torn muscles, ligaments or tendons — as a result of their fall.

The study, scheduled to be published in the summer issue of Footwear Science, found among 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.

“Our findings show that older people going barefoot, wearing only socks, or wearing slippers may be at considerably increased risk of falls in their homes,” senior author Marian Hannan said in a statement. “Therefore, older people should wear shoes at home whenever possible to minimize their risk of falling.”

Study participants were tracked for more than 27 months after a comprehensive baseline assessment that determined footwear type. The assessment included a home visit and clinical examination.

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