47,000 Elderly Americans Injured in Walker Mishaps Annually

by Rajashri on Jun 30 2009 9:02 PM

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have revealed that over 47,000 elderly Americans are treated after falls that involve walkers and canes on an annual basis.

The researchers arrived at this conclusion after analyzing emergency department records from 2001 to 2006. They also found that 87 percent of the mishaps involved a walker and that elderly individuals were seven times more likely to get injured in a walker accident rather than a cane accident.

"Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain their mobility. However, it's important to make sure people use these devices safely," study lead author Judy Stevens said. "Walkers are often used by frail and vulnerable older adults; people for whom falls, if they occur, can have very serious health consequences."

78 percent of walker-related injuries and 66 percent cane-related injuries were suffered by elderly women with most injuries occurring at home. Fractures to the hip and pelvis were the most common type of injury.

The details are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.