Journal Article

The effects of usual footwear on balance amongst elderly women attending a day hospital

N. Frances Horgan, Fiona Crehan, Emma Bartlett, Fiona Keogan, Anne Marie O’Grady, Allan R. Moore, Ciaran F. Donegan and Martina Curran

in Age and Ageing

Published on behalf of British Geriatrics Society

Volume 38, issue 1, pages 62-67
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0002-0729
Published online November 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-2834 | DOI:
The effects of usual footwear on balance amongst elderly women attending a day hospital

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Objective: to examine the effects of footwear on balance in a sample of older women attending a day hospital.

Design: this was a crossover trial with a quasi-randomised allocation.

Setting: assessments took place in the geriatric day hospital.

Subjects: a cohort of 100 older women aged 60 years and over attending a day hospital.

Methods: demographic data and a brief falls history were recorded. Participant's footwear was assessed using a footwear assessment form. A Berg Balance Scale (BBS) was completed under two conditions–-shoes on and shoes off with order counter-balanced.

Results: the mean BBS was 39.07 (SD 9.14) with shoes on and 36.54 (SD 10.39) with shoes off (P < 0.0001). Balance scores were significantly higher with shoes on for 10 of the 14 Berg subcategories. Lower barefoot BBS scores were associated with a greater beneficial effect of footwear on balance (P < 0.001). Shoe characteristics were not associated with change in the BBS score.

Conclusions: Wearing their own footwear significantly improved participants’ balance compared to being barefoot. The greatest benefit of footwear was seen in those with the poorest balance. Further studies should investigate whether particular types of footwear are associated with greater benefit.

Keywords: elderly; shoes; balance; day hospital

Journal Article.  3723 words. 

Subjects: Geriatric Medicine

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