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Vibrating Shoes for Better Balance

separator It might sound crazy, but adding a little vibration to the soles of your shoes may help you improve your balance and decrease the risk of falling. Each year, one third of people 65 and older suffer a fall. These falls can result in broken hips and other serious injury, sometimes leading to loss of independence and even death.

As you age, the nerves in the soles of your feet aren’t as sensitive as they used to be. This makes it harder for your body to detect when it is tipping and when it needs to adjust itself to remain standing.

A new study has shown that when insoles caused small, nearly undetectable vibrations in the bottom of the foot, older people were better able to steady themselves when they started to get out of balance.

Don’t look for these special insoles just yet. Researchers still have to test them on large groups of people. They also have to figure out how to supply electricity to the insoles without making you strap a big battery to yourself. But it’s a promising development that may be able to help a lot of people in several years.

The Lancet, October 2003.
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