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Background: To maintain and improve foot environment that forms the basis of everyday life of the elderly is an important issue not only from the viewpoint to provide support for functional capacity, but also to maintain the quality of life (QOL) of the elderly.
Objective: To determine the effects of shoe-fitting guidance and wearing shoes with custom-made insoles (CMI) on improving the health-related QOL of community-living elderly women.
Methods: Seventy-nine healthy women who lived in an urban community aged 65-92 years were allocated randomly to a control group (n = 40; mean age +/- SD 75.0 +/- 5.1 years) or an intervention group (n = 39; mean age +/- SD 75.5 +/- 6.0 years). The intervention group was given detail guidance on shoe fitting and asked to wear shoes with CMI for 1 month. The control group had a 30-min lecture on better ways of choosing shoes. The QOL was assessed using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36).
Results: No significant differences in baseline measurements were observed between the two groups in all 10 scores of the SF-36 (8 domains and 2 summary scores). After intervention, the two groups differed significantly in three domains: mental health, bodily pain, and general health (p < 0.05). In comparing the mean baseline and postintervention SF-36 scores, the control group showed no significant differences in all 10 scores. On the other hand, the intervention group improved in five domains and two summary scores, i.e., vitality and mental component summary (p < 0.05), role physical, general health perceptions, role emotional and physical component summary (p < 0.01), and mental health (p = 0.0003). The intervention was markedly effective not only in the physical but also in the mental aspect.
Conclusion: Wearing shoes with CMI adjusted to individual feet significantly improves the health-related QOL, including both physical and mental aspects in community-living elderly women.