The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has just given me a reason to look forward to old age: Seniors over the age of 75 will no longer be required to remove their shoes when going through airport security checkpoints.
Honestly, this is just a relief for us all, isn't it? The last time I flew, I found myself standing behind an elderly couple, both of whom were oblivious to the shoe-removal regulation until an employee asked them kindly to take off their footwear. What was revealed when those orthotic shoes came off can only be described as a podiatrist's dream – or nightmare: bunions, hammer toe and thick, yellow toenails.
After recovering from the trauma of seeing first-hand what I may well have in my future, I regained composure, peered down at my own bunions and wished to the travel gods that the TSA would change its regulations on shoes at security checkpoints.
They must have heard my prayers, because beginning on March 19, four airports – in Chicago, Denver, Orlando and Portland, Oregon – will be testing the new regulations to allow passengers who are 75 years or older to keep on their shoes and light outerwear. According to the TSA website, these individuals may be required to go through a second scan if anything from the first round raises any red flags.
Additionally, old folks may no longer be subjected to pat-downs, as the new measures are purported to cut down on the number of these screening procedures that need to be conducted.
After the trial period, the TSA will decide whether to implement the new regulations across the country.
In addition to sparing us all the sight of old people's feet, the guidelines may allow easier travel for individuals with arthritis, many of whom find it difficult to bend over and may lack the dexterity needed to tie and untie shoes without challenges. And we can all be grateful that grandma and grandpa can make it to Florida with minimal hassle, can't we?
No matter their age or the cause of their bunions – whether they stem from arthritis or wearing high heels too often – people with the bony deformity may be able to find a sense of relief in baring their feet in public with non-invasive bunion correction. Such methods include using orthotics during the day and bunion splints at night, which may provide the support needed to alleviate foot pain.