Among older Americans, falls are the number one cause of injuries and death from injury, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only are seniors more at risk for falls, when they do fall, it poses a greater risk for injuries, hospitalization and complications. For a ground-up approach to fall prevention, seniors should start by examining the health of their feet.
Painful foot conditions, such as osteoarthritis, corns, bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, high arches and diabetes complications, can make it difficult for seniors to maintain balance and coordination when walking or standing. Also, the very exercises intended to correct risk factors for falls, such as lower-body weakness, as well as gait and balance problems, are difficult to perform when one suffers from painful foot and ankle conditions.
While the factors causing falls are numerous, seniors can take the following steps to reduce their risk by minimizing or eliminating foot pain. Doing so will improve balance, coordination and stability when walking or standing.
- Do not ignore pain. Foot pain is not just a normal consequence of growing older. It is likely a treatable condition. For proper diagnosis and treatment, be sure to pay attention to your feet and call our office if you experience any pain.
- Examine your feet. As the gatekeeper of your own health, make sure you examine your feet regularly. At the first sign of bumps, lumps or other changes in your feet, make an appointment with our office.
- Exercise. Simple stretching exercises can help you maintain strength and mobility in your feet and ankles, as well as provide pain relief. We can help you determine which exercises are appropriate for you.
- Protect. Use padding, insoles or whatever special footwear you are prescribed. Be sure to wear these, along with comfortable, sensible shoes, every day.
- Be flexible. At times, surgery is the most appropriate treatment for a given condition. Fortunately, many simple surgical techniques allow foot surgery to be performed on an outpatient basis. Just one fall can rob seniors of their independence and can dramatically reduce their quality of life.
Just one fall can rob seniors of their independence and can dramatically reduce their quality of life.
Visit our office to learn how taking good care of your feet and ankles can reduce the risk of a life-altering slip, trip or fall.