As we age it is natural that we lose muscle strength and tone. This causes a few issues for the body and its ability to hold us upright. Weakness in muscles and ligaments with age causes our joints to become unstable and this can lead to a loss of balance. Poor balance combined with sensory deficiencies and you have a high risk of falls.
Why is it important to prevent falls?
Falls are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly so prevention is vital. Walking is vitally important to your overall health. It helps with circulation and maintaining muscle strength. As we age muscle strength reduces. If you experience a bad fall then this can lead to injury and time off your feet. If you are old and you have a lot of time off your feet without walking then your muscle strength will rapidly decline as the muscles simply aren’t getting used. The end result is that your balance is worse and it can be hard getting back on your feet following your fall. This in turn has an adverse effect on your overall health whilst making you more at risk of further falls.
What causes falls?
The following factors can increase the risk of falls:
- Poor footwear
- Tripping hazards around the home or outside
- Muscle weakness
- Poor vision
- Poor balance
- Reduced sensation
- Chronic illness and diseases
Why are your feet vital for balance?
Your feet are vital to your balance as they are the base of support for your legs and body. A good base of support helps keep the body more stable. If your feet are stable then the better your balance, reducing your risk of falls.
How can podiatry treatment help balance and prevent falls
At Melbourne Podiatrists & Orthotics we can assess your feet and gait. We can also assess your balance and determine how at risk you are of falls.
Fall prevention treatment includes our podiatrists recommending the right supportive shoes to help improve your balance. Our podiatrists are also experts in prescribing orthotics to help improve balance. Orthotics improve foot function whilst stabilising the feet and research has shown that orthotics can help improve balance in older adults. Finally our podiatrists can prescribe exercises to help strengthen your feet, improve your balance and help reduce the risk of falls.
Foot problems are one of the main causes of falls in the elderly and a lot of these falls can be prevented through proper care and regular visits to one of our Melbourne podiatrists.