As we age, the risk of falling increases. A number of factors contribute to this risk, including progressive weakness of the foot and legs, decreased ability to lift the ankle, causing the toes to drag on the ground, stroke, as well inner ear problems. While not all of the problems contributing to increased fall risk are treatable, some measures can be taken to reduce the risk of falling. People fall every day just from simply walking, often leading to other significant injuries including hip, leg, and arm fractures, internal head injuries, lacerations, and other injuries. Some of the injuries can become life threatening, especially when the faller is on blood thinner medication.
A number of tips can help prevent such falls. Use of either a 2 or 4 point walker can provide needed stability, reducing the risk of falling. A number of different braces are available to assist in dorsiflexing the ankle, preventing the toes from dragging the ground while swinging the leg forward. Virtually all of these braces are covered by insurance, and while somewhat cumbersome, virtually all fit in to an athletic shoe. Finally use of a leather soled shoe, in leiu of a rubber soled shoe, can greatly reduce the risk of falling. Rubber soled shoes grip the ground, potentially causing one to trip. A leather soled shoe slides much more easily, greatly reducing the risk of tripping over ones own shoes.
If you or a loved one has some weakness of the foot or leg, have had a history of falling, or simply feel unstable while walking, give us a call. Dr. Block and staff at the Bluegrass Foot Center will work hard to keep you upright, stable, and on your feet!