SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The health risks associated with heart disease, stroke, and
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Every second of the day and adult aged 65 and older falls in the United States. Every 12 seconds, one of these seniors is admitted to the emergency department for a fall; and every day 74 of those will die from a fall. Among older Americans, falls are the number one cause of injuries and death from injury.1
Anyone can fall. However, seniors are more prone to falling and tend to sustain significantly more serious injuries, such as hip fractures (more than 97% of which are caused by falling).2 This can lead to prolong hospitalization, reduced mobility, loss of independence and fear of falling again. The constant dread of another fall can become paralyzing, leading to reduced physical activity and ironically increasing the chance of future falls.
"When discussing fall prevention, everything from slippery floors, loose throw rugs, poor lighting, medication side effects, wet spots and pets have been cited as contributing to the growing tendency to fall as we age. Foot pain and foot problems, when mentioned, tend to be near the bottom of the list," said podiatric foot and ankle specialist Diane Branks, DPM, Vice President of the California Podiatric Medical Association.
"Since our feet are the foundation for our balance and mobility, it only makes sense that healthy feet would play a key role in helping to prevent falls," said Dr. Branks.
In a randomized clinical trial of foot care as a way to prevent falls, Australian researchers found that the volunteers that received foot care experienced 36 percent fewer falls than those in the control group that did not.3
Scientists have also linked several personal risk factors to falling, including muscle weakness in the lower extremities, problems with balance and gait; and foot problems that cause pain, can also increase the risk of falling.4
The foot and ankle is a highly complex structure, containing 26 bones (one-quarter of all the bones in the human body), 33 joints and more than 100 ligaments and tendons. These are all linked and served by a vast network of nerves, muscles, soft tissue and skin. All these components work in unison to provide the support, strength, flexibility and resiliency needed for things most people take for granted, such as balance and walking. Because of the area's intricacy, podiatric physicians who are rigorously educated in the medical treatment and care of the human foot and ankle play a vital role in keeping seniors on their feet and helping to prevent falls.
Dr. Branks, who is podiatric physician and surgeon on staff with Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, CA, said, "Podiatric physicians can access and treat foot pain; analyze and identify underlying biomechanical and gait abnormalities, prescribe corrective measures including custom orthotic devices and perform necessary surgeries"
Dr. Branks adds that podiatric physicians provide expert medical advice on foot health and care, can recommend exercise programs to increase foot and ankle strength and flexibility, and provide knowledgeable counsel on proper footwear.
"For seniors, good food health can be the difference between enjoyment or infirmity, active involvement or debilitating decline. Keeping our aging population active longer and more capable of caring for themselves is critical. Quality foot and ankle care provided by podiatric physicians is an important part of the equation," said Dr. Branks.
The California Podiatric Medical Association offers some simple steps to help prevent falls:
Reduce falling risks around the home by:
To find a local licensed podiatric physician visit http://www.calpma.org.
CPMA: Doctors dedicated to keeping Californians on their Feet – Healthy, Active and Productive!
Founded in 1912, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is the leading and recognized professional organization for California's doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their long and rigorous education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg.
1 CDC: "Don't Fall Behind on Fall Prevention" http://www.cdc.gov/features/falls-prevention-day/index.html 2 CDC: "Important Facts about Falls" http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html 3 Harvard Health Letter: "Taking Care of Your Feet May Prevent Falls and Injuries" http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/taking-care-of-your-feet-may-prevent-falls-injuries 4 National Institute On Aging "Prevent Falls and Fractures" http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/prevent-falls-and-fractures 5 Science Daily "Going Barefoot in Home May Contribute to Elderly Falls" http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100623085516.htm
SOURCE California Podiatric Medical Association
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