Fall prevention awareness week: Podiatric Medical Services can help prevent debilitating and fatal falls

Podiatric Medical Services

We all have fallen at some point in life, it may be while learning to walk, skate or ski, tripping over shoelaces, or slipping on a wet spot. Most of us think no harm is caused but, for seniors – falling poses risk for serious injuries.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.

  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.

  • Fall death rates in the United States increased by 30% between 2007 and 2016. If rates continue to rise at this pace, it is estimated that there could be as many as 7 fall deaths every hour by 2030.

Falls are caused due to external factors like loose rugs, sidewalk cracks and ill-fitting footwear. Internal health-related causes can be muscle deterioration, and certain chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease and neuropathy, which causes numbness, weakness or burning in the feet. The feet might not feel where they are stepping due to these sensory issues and can lead to falls, according to Dr. Spohn-Gross, Vice President of the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA).

Dr. Spohn-Gross says that the CDC and various studies found that foot pain is one of the leading causes of falls amongst seniors. Feet tends to flatten and widen with loss of elasticity in their tendons and ligaments.

After falling, many seniors fear falling again, whether they get injured or not. This fear leads to depression and many seniors reduce their physical activities, which is not the right thing to do. The first step to fall prevention program is visit a podiatric foot and ankle specialist.

Stay active and brisk walk 5-days a week. It also helps weight management, improves blood circulation and bone strength and improves mood.