The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Get on the Level: How Proper Shoe Depth Can Alleviate Foot Pain for Seniors

Posted by on Monday, December 1st, 2014


According to a new Australian study in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, increased shoe depth reduces disabling foot pain and improves function for adults over age 65. The study, which surveyed 120 seniors over a four-month period, found that individuals wearing shoes with deeper footbeds scored 11 points better for pain and 10 points better for function than those in regular shoes — a “significant” difference, say researchers.

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City treats many seniors for a number of conditions, including acute and chronic foot pain. Helping patients choose the right footwear is a huge part of long-term care for common foot issues and reduced mobility.

senior citizen shoes
Do these look like “orthopedic” shoes to you? Seniors should give increased depth shoes a chance, say researchers. Image Source:

Why Do Seniors’ Feet Hurt?

“With advancing age, there is a general tendency for the foot to exhibit increased soft tissue stiffness, decreased range of motion, decreased strength, and a more pronated posture, and to function in a more pronated position with reduced range of motion and less efficient propulsion when walking,” lead researcher Hylton B. Menz told Reuters Health.

Other reasons older people suffer from more foot problems include the following:

  • They tend to wear ill-fitting shoes that don’t adapt to changing foot sizes or shapes that naturally occur with age
  • They suffer from comorbidities, like diabetes, arthritis, corns, and calluses which can exacerbate foot pain
  • The pounds tend to accumulate over the years; overweight and obese seniors suffer the most

What Are “Shoes With Increased Foot Depth?”

Extra-depth shoes include brands like Dr. Comfort, Orthofeet, and Apis. They are a little more expensive — between $100 and $200 a pair — but some of this cost can often be offset by Medicare or private insurance. Deeper footbeds allow more room for bunions, hammertoes, clawtoes, or bent arthritic joints. They can also accommodate custom-made orthotics, which we can fit you for right in our office. A molded footbed designed for your unique feet is often enough to alleviate issues like plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and arch pain caused by improper foot alignment. Many patients are hesitant to switch to “medical” footwear because they don’t like the look of these shoes, but more high-end designers are getting into the market these days.

Senior Foot Care in NYC

Given the research, why not give a pair of these shoes a try, at least around the house? Seeing a podiatrist can help you get the best fit and find a style that suits your lifestyle — not to mention, alleviate your pain symptoms, say scientists. It’s a popular misconception that “everyone’s feet hurt with age.” The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine offers seniors many advanced treatments for pain, including ultrasound and low pulse shockwaves that stimulate the body’s natural healing processes, and platelet rich plasma injections for the feet (which some professionals are calling a “youth serum!”) Our experts in diabetes care help patients treat and prevent ulcers, neuropathy, and achy joints. We may not be able to turn back the clock for you, but we can improve your foot strength, mobility, and pain symptoms markedly to give you a better quality of life. Contact our NYC podiatrists today.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.