Adaptive Footwear can help healthcare professionals in ensuring their patients remain comfortable and safe. Firstly, what is considered to be adaptive footwear? All adaptive footwear features have characteristics designed to ensure comfort as well as to eliminate different safety hazards. The main features of adaptive footwear are:
- Slip Resistant
- Wider Widths
- Comfort Material
- Easy Touch Fasteners
- Large Openings
- Heel & Foot Support
Slip resistance is important for independent care homes and long term care or retirement facilities. In most long term care and retirement environments, slip resistant footwear is often a mandatory requirement as part of their Fall Prevention Programs. These adaptable shoes are especially important for occupational therapists and healthcare professionals that are in charge of providing simple resident mobility exercise. Slip resistant soles play an important part in this practice.
Slip resistant is important in both mobile and immobile patients. For immobile patients, wheelchair bound or bed ridden, slip resistant footwear is still important in transferring if their feet have to be on the ground at any point. Socks with grip on the bottom are good for wheelchair bound patients by keeping their securely on the wheelchair feet. Slip resistant soles for mobile patients will help prevent slips and falls by securing their step. Slip resistant soles will also help propel their feet in the proper direction on any surface.
Adaptable footwear features wider widths which accommodate for the following issues; swelling, edema diabetic neuropathy and toe deformities. A wider width provides a larger toe box accommodating many foot conditions such as hammertoes or claw feet.
Comfortable material is important in every type of footwear, whether it be slippers or outdoor shoes. Materials that are lined with cushion will be extra comfy for sensitive feet and a good solution for slippers. The material neoprene is specifically manufactured to allow the footwear to bend and mould to the foot. This is especially helpful in feet that have bunions or certain toe deformities.
Easy Touch Fasteners
Easy touch fastenings are an important feature of adaptive footwear and are great for a number of reasons. Arthritic hands are able to do up the fastenings on their own. This can greatly improve the self esteem of a senior, who has arthritic hands and the hands that might not be able to do up laces allowing them to maintain their independence. This is also a benefit to the caregiver that does now not have to bend over to do up shoes for every patient.
The second reason why easy touch is a great switch from laces is because of how much more adjustable easy touch fastenings are. With easy touch fastenings, swelling that progress throughout the day doesn’t have to be a reason that a patient can’t wear shoes anymore as the adaptive shoes can change accordingly to the swelling of the foot. Adjustable fastening closures make it easier for patients footwear adjusted to the amount of swelling throughout the day.
Patients often select improper or larger fitting footwear to accommodate swelling and various foot conditions. Larger openings offer the ability to select proper fitting footwear thereby reducing the possibility of falls and further foot irritations. This is especially important for diabetic patients. A patient is also able to maintain their sense of independence without assistance. Here are some examples of adaptive footwear with large openings or straps that completely open to easily slide feet into.
Heel and Foot Support
Heel support within adaptive footwear is important in propelling the foot forward when walking. It helps reduce the feeling of rocking backwards. This is incredibly important with seniors/patients who may have heavier footsteps and are more unsteady on their feet.
Having proper footwear at all times includes adaptive shoes for hallways and outdoors, adaptive slippers for in the room and trips down the hall, slip resistant socks are also an option for nighttime trips to the bathroom. Ensure that your patient is always comfortable and safe with the proper footwear on their feet.
Click here to see footwear options and styles all with adaptive designs to better the life and safety of your patient.