New research published by the Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research found that taking care of foot problems can help prevent seniors from suffering a painful fall injury.
For their study, researchers analyzed data from the Framingham Foot Study, which examined the relation between the presence of foot pain and fall injuries in seniors. The study involved 1,375 individuals with an average age of 69 years old, and it asked participants about their history with foot pain, certain foot conditions like flat feet, and the number of times they had suffered a fall injury.
Foot Problems and Falls
After combing through the data, researchers uncovered that individuals with foot pain were 62 percent more likely to suffer a fall injury than a senior citizen without foot pain. Moreover, those odds increased even further if the respondent said they were dealing with moderate or severe foot pain. Lastly, researchers noted that senior citizens with flat feet were 78 percent more likely to suffer multiple falls compared to senior citizens without a sunken arch.
“This is important because falls are a serious problem for older adults,” lead author Arunima Awale, a research associate at the institute. “They are a leading cause of hospitalization and often lead to a loss of independence, a decrease in quality of life and sometimes death. With this new knowledge, we hope to find more solutions to lessen the risk of falls in older adults.”
Preventing Falls in Seniors
The good news is now that we can see a tangible link between foot pain and falls in seniors, we can take action to help treat this pain and keep individuals upright. For starters, if you are experiencing foot pain, don’t just try to power through the discomfort – seek out professional medical guidance. The vast majority of the time we can get to the bottom of your pain and find some simple solutions. You’d be amazed at how often we hear patients say something along the lines of “I really wish I would have came to your sooner.” You don’t need to live in pain or at an elevated risk for falls.
Secondly, even if you’re not suffering from foot pain, take a closer look at the arch of your foot. If your arch has fallen and you have flat feet, you too are at an increased risk for a fall injury. Thankfully, there are plenty of therapeutic options that help you strengthen the muscles in your feet and improve your balance. Easy stretches and simple physical therapy routines can help you keep you upright and injury free. For more information or to talk to Dr. Silverman about your foot pain, reach out to him by filling out the box below!
Lance Silverman, MD
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