The aims of this review were to assess the evidence for how footwear interventions can influence static and dynamic balance performance and gait in older people and to explore proposed theories for the underlying sensorimotor and mechanical mechanisms by which such changes may occur.
Papers reviewed in this article were grouped into one of three categories according to balance task: 1) static balance performance during quiet standing, 2) dynamic balance performance during walking, and 3) dynamic balance performance during perturbed standing or functional tasks.
Four studies investigated the effects of textured shoe insoles on double-limb standing under various visual conditions.
Two articles explored the effects of vibrating shoe insoles on double-limb standing balance in healthy older adults and elderly fallers.
Nine articles investigated the effects of footwear interventions, including custom foot orthoses, arch supports, and vibrating, balance-enhancing, and textured shoe insoles, on dynamic balance performance during walking in older adults.
Three articles explored the effects of custom-made foot orthoses on level-ground walking in older populations with musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoporosis, older fallers, and healthy older people.
Two studies investigated the immediate effects of vibrating shoe insoles on gait in healthy older people and older fallers.
Four articles investigated the effects of using balance-enhancing and textured insoles to increase sensory afferent feedback via enhanced tactile stimulation of plantar cutaneous mechanoreceptors on gait performance.
Three articles investigated the effects of custom foot orthoses or arch supports on dynamic balance performance during perturbed standing or functional tasks in older women with osteoporosis, older fallers, and healthy older people.
This review demonstrated that vibrating and textured insoles seem to have good immediate benefits for balance and gait, particularly vibrotactile interventions. Balance-enhancing insoles show beneficial long-term effects on gait.
Custom foot orthoses seem to be beneficial to immediate and long-term balance performance and gait.
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