Keep Feet Healthy to Reduce the Risk of Falling

Do you know that more than 30% of Americans over 65 experiences fall each year? Not only that, but the number increases proportionally with age: the older you are, the greater your risk of a fall. It must be noted, however, that foot health and strength play a large role in preventing falls. Good foot health reduces your risk.

Numerous factors can lead to a fall:

  • People stumble, slip, trip, and get knocked down accidentally.
  • Inner ear infections, vertigo, and other health issues can affect the sense of balance and increase the odds of a fall.
  • People with frequent or chronic foot pain are more likely to fall.

The numbers are scary. Among senior citizens, falls account for 25% of hospital admissions and 40% of nursing home admissions each year. Further, nearly half of patients admitted for treatment after a fall never fully return to their formerly independent lives. Serious complications are possible. One out of every 200 falls in people aged 65 to 69 results in a hip fracture. The average hospital stay for an elderly patient who has fallen is almost twice as long than those of seniors who are admitted for any other reason, increasing the likelihood of an opportunistic infection by hospital-based bacteria.  Worse, one fall leads to another. More than half of seniors who fall will fall again within six months. Scariest of all, nearly 10,000 senior citizens die after falls. More people 65 and older die as a result of falls than die in car accidents each year.

Here are some simple recommendations from James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS to lower your risk of falling, regardless of your age:

  1. Visit the podiatrist regularly, especially if you have diabetes. This will ensure that changes and concerns are noticed early and addressed promptly.
  2. Smokers are more likely to suffer from neuropathy, which can diminish sensation in the feet and lead to falls. Please quit today.
  3. Maintaining a healthy BMI will improve your overall well-being, including foot health. If you’re carrying extra pounds, think about changing your diet.
  4. Gentle yoga can improve balance. Check out a local class.
  5. Keep a clean home. Tidy your living space daily. Remove potential tripping hazards from the floor.
  6. Make sensible shoe choices. The best shoes for your feet have wide, low heels and are comfortable out of the box. Look for good arch support and cushioning. 
  7. Always wear rubber-soled slippers or shoes inside, especially on stairs. Stop going barefoot, and never walk in socks.

Call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A.’s friendly and professional staff at 410-224-4448 or click here to schedule an appointment in our convenient Annapolis office. Dr. James M. McKee will examine your feet and diagnose any issues, then help you with recommendations and treatment.