June is Falls Prevention Month

Each year one in three people over the age of 65 have a fall, resulting dislocations and fractures as well as head and back injuries. Alarmingly the number of falls in people aged over 75 has increased by 400% in the last decade. Medical factors such as taking multiple medications, dizziness or cognitive impairment may increase the risk of falls, but the main cause of falls in the elderly is foot problems, which can be prevented. Problems of the feet which can contribute to falls include a decrease in muscle strength, toe deformity, decreased range of joint motion and footwear.

Muscle strength diminishes with age which affects stability and balance.  The small muscles within the foot play a very important role in creating stability as they are constantly working to support stretching ligaments and tendons during gait.

Years of wearing footwear has a detrimental effect on the strength of these small muscle of the feet as do toe deformities, in particular those of the big toe, arthritis and corns and callouses. All of these factors can change the way you walk as you compensate for painful or restricted areas and injury,which forces the muscles of the feet and legs to work harder in keeping you upright.

Range of motion in the ankle and toe joints is also vital for balance and stability as it is our quick reflexes and a good range of joint motion that allows you to recover quickly form a trip thereby preventing a fall.

Fall prevention is possible through proper care of your feet. At Wanneroo Podiatry we can assess your risk of a fall and treat any conditions to reduce that risk.  We advice on footwear and give you simple excercises to improve and maintain muscle strength, range of motion and stability. Next week we will look at Top Tips on what you can do to reduce your risk of falls and injury

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