Foot pain is a collective human experience. It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t experienced aching feet.
Considering the average pair of feet will travel nearly 75,000 miles by the time they reach the age of 50 – the equivalent of walking around the world three times – it’s understandable that painful feet are a common concern for older adults.
As with many conditions that manifest later in life, sore feet can usually be attributed to age-related changes that create a host of painful conditions like plantar fasciitis, flat feet, bunions, hammertoes and heel pain.
Podiatrists recommend inserts or insoles to provide extra cushioning and support to help minimize foot pain and prevent damage to the delicate bones, joints and tissues within the foot. These shoe inserts are easy to find and relatively affordable.
Keep in mind that severe foot pain or certain foot disorders may require the use of custom orthotics, prescription medical devices you wear inside your shoes to correct biomechanical foot issues, such as problems with how you walk, stand or run. So, it’s always best to consult your health care provider to determine what option is right for your loved one.
Why shoe inserts are an ideal solution for most feet
Conditions that cause foot pain can occasionally require surgery, but sometimes shoe insoles are a simple and affordable solution for those who need a little extra support. They’re also an affordable way to extend the lifetime of a pair of walking shoes: You don’t have to buy new shoes to get the support and cushioning you need.
In addition to protecting the feet, insoles can help improve balance and gait, thus reducing falls. Inserts – especially textured shoe inserts – stimulate the sensory receptors on the bottom of the feet, thus enhancing the proprioceptive information traveling to the brain that tells your brain where your body is in space. Similarly, some insoles are designed to massage your feet as you walk, which increases circulation to the feet.
Insoles can also help prevent and alleviate pain in the lower back and lower limbs. Most pain starts at ground level, so setting your feet up for success makes sense. Foot conditions like overpronation, supination or fallen arches can change how your lower limbs interact with your pelvis, increasing the risk of knee pain and back pain. Shoe insoles distribute your weight evenly to ensure neutral alignment of your pelvis, spine and lower limbs.
Top shoe inserts for seniors
Best for high arches and arch conditions such as plantar fasciitis, these inserts are moldable with a flexible plastic arch that helps support and control the foot.
Best for flat feet, these insoles feature Plasti-Flex shell supports that stabilize the arch area, holding the foot in natural alignment.
These inserts, which are designed specifically for women, have the Dr. Scholl’s Arch Guard and Shock Guard Technology, which provides extra sturdy support and distributes weight evenly. The deep heel cup provides additional stability and support for the foot. There is a corresponding Dr. Scholl’s Extra Support Pain Relief insole for men.
Among the best-selling insoles on Amazon, these have a semi-rigid arch integrated with the shape and design of the full-length foam that provides superior arch support and creates a deep heel cup for improved natural shock absorption. These insoles are also uniquely designed to strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the feet, repositioning them to their optimal position.
Deemed optimal for high arches, these insoles have more than 8,000 reviews and 4.5 stars. Their wide and deep heel cup works with the body’s natural cushioning for maximum support. Their High Arch Superfeet Shape helps to stabilize the foot, reducing stress on feet, ankles and knees.
Available in both men’s and women’s sizes, these Dr. Scholl’s inserts are the best all-around insert for those who are on a budget or who are new to insoles. They have the deep heel cup that feet need for shock absorption, padding to cushion the ball of the foot, and a reinforced arch to support movement.
Over-the-counter shoe insoles are a great option to treat and prevent foot pain, with one caveat—you have to be wearing the right shoe size. Feet change size and shape over time. Age-related changes occur at the cellular level, causing ligaments and tendons to lose their strength. This can cause arches to decrease, which flattens the foot, making it wider and longer. This can increase one’s shoe size by at least a half size or more.
So, before purchasing orthotic inserts, it might be wise to visit a podiatrist to ensure your shoes are the right size.