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Falls Prevention for Seniors

Did you know that ‘37.3 million falls occur each year that are severe enough to require medical attention, and adults over the age of 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.’-World Health Organization. So what can you do to help prevent having a fall? 

1. Keep active and exercise:
As we grow older we lose muscle strength and sense of balance which can lead to having a fall. The more active you remain, the better chance you have of keeping your muscles strong, joints mobile and maintaining good balance. There are also lots of foot exercises that you can do sitting down at home that can help improve your balance. These exercises used in conjunction with orthotics have been shown to reduce accidental falls in older people by 36%.

Some examples of foot exercises you can do at home are:
Foot crawls: sitting in a chair, curl your toes and try to drag your feet forward. Do this as far out as you can then drag your feet back to the start. Do three sets of 15 foot crawls a day.

Heel toe shuffle: sitting in a chair, balance on the heels of your feet. Then move to balancing on your toes, then go back onto your heels. Do this while moving your feet side to side. Repeat this for three sets of 15.

Single leg balance: Stand behind a steady, solid chair (not one with wheels) and hold onto the back of it. Lift your right foot and balance on your left foot. Hold that position for 15 seconds, then switch feet. Do three sets of 10 a day.

2. Foot care:
Long nails, aching feet or skin problems (such as corns, callus or cracked heels) can cause falls. Especially if they cause pain or discomfort. You can see a podiatrist regularly to help maintain general foot care or help with any problems that you have with your feet.

3. Shoes:
Research shows that ONLY 25% of people wear correct fitting shoes! It is important to make sure that your shoes fit correctly and aren’t worn out. Your shoes should have enough room at the front and side for your toes to move. Also if you are going shoe shopping you should always do it later during the day, as most people feet develop swelling by the end of the day. Having correct fitting shoes can help improve your walking and balance. Avoid going barefoot or wearing socks without shoes as this can contribute to having a fall. Our Raceview clinic stocks a vast variety of shoes from popular brands such as Vionic, Anodyne, Orthaheel, Revere & Dr. Comfort. These shoes are great as they come in different sizes & widths, they can also fit your own orthotics into them as most of them have a removable foot bed. 

If you require assistance cutting your toenails or want advice on shoes, call our clinic on 3288 6194 to book an appointment to see our Podiatrists – Michael, Aimee or Tara. The Foot & Ankle Specialists are located at Raceview in Ipswich. We also have locations at Underwood, Redbank, Rosewood, Willowbank, Karalee, Fernvale, Laidley & Gatton. Call the number above to book an appointment at any of these locations. Home visits are also available!

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