Fall related injuries are a serious burden on the public health system. More than a third of older adults fall each year and injuries can result in fractures, head traumas, decreased function and loss of independence in the elderly. Podiatrists can help reduce fall related injuries by evaluating your gait (the way you walk), your strength and your balance.
Dr. Dardashti stresses the importance of finding the right shoes. When selecting shoes he evaluates the heel height, sole slip resistance, sole flexion point (does the shoe bend in the correct area), sole hardness and sole thickness. Finding the right shoe increases support when walking thus boosting confidence and decreasing the fear of falling. Custom orthotics can also improve balance and support by evenly distributing pressure and forces, realigning the body in a more anatomically correct position that improves stability and reduces the likelihood of falling.
Muscle weakness can reduce flexibility and balance contributing the falls. For these patients Dr. Dardashti recommends braces and AFO’s (ankle foot orthotics). It’s crucial to stretch the muscles of the leg, foot and toes to improve strength, balance and proprioception. The specialists at the Foot & Ankle Doctors, Inc can provide you with simple stretches you can perform at home to improve your strength and balance.
Certain foot problems are risk factors for falls that can be addressed by podiatrists such as lower extremity muscle weakness, limited ankle motion, foot deformities like bunions, toe deformities such as hammertoes and calluses. It’s important to see your podiatrist regularly to address any of these risk factors.