How to prevent falls
Falls are extremely common in the elderly and are a major cause of injury. Approximately 28-35% of people aged 65 and over fall each year, increasing to 32-42% for those over 70 years of age. Falls are the underlying cause of 50% of injury related hospitalisations among people aged 65 years and older. Falls can result in in serious soft tissue, bone injuries and psychological problems. Therefore, it is very important to reduce your risk of falls.
Problems like bunions, claw toes, ingrown toenails, corns and calluses as well as soft tissue injuries can cause you to change the way you walk in order to avoid the pain. This modified gait pattern can decrease your balance.
Most elderly patients experience a decline in muscle strength. It is important to maintain muscle strength and flexibility as much as possible, those who have this strength and flexibility are at a much lower risk of falls.
Balance and Gait
Foot posture and lower limb alignment throughout the gait cycle can cause certain leg muscles to do more work in order to keep you stable. This imbalance can increase your risk of having a fall, especially under fatigue.
Environmental factors like stairs, uneven surfaces, rugs, pets and poor lighting all increase your risk of falls. Poor footwear with poor fastening, smooth soles or high heels are all going to put you at higher risk of fall related injury.
How Can a Podiatrist Help?
A biomechanical assessment can be performed to establish how your feet are functioning and aligned when standing, walking and running. Appropriate advice will be given on stretching/strengthening, footwear and orthotic therapy depending on results from the assessment.
If you are experiencing any pain/discomfort in the lower limb or feeling unsteady on your feet, please book an appointment with one of our friendly Coast Sport Podiatrists by calling (02) 4356 2588 or book online via the button below.
Thanks to Coast Sport Podiatrist Will for preparing this blog post. You can find out more about Will here.
Will practices as a Podiatrist at both Toukley (Toukley Family Practice) and Tuggerah (Tuggerah Medical Centre and Coast Sport).