Each year a quarter of all adults 65 and older fall. For some this will mean a serious injury that leads to disability or even death. For others, the injury isn’t so much physical as mental as they become fearful and depressed and unwilling to life the active lifestyle they once loved. In honor of Falls Prevention Day which occurs on September 22nd, we at Superior Foot & Ankle Center want to let patients know that they can decrease the risk of falling. Here’s how:
Build up strength and balance—regular exercise—walking being one of the best options—helps keep muscles and bones strong and keeps ligaments and tendons flexible. Feet that are functioning well are less likely to stumble. There are also several types of exercise, such as Tai Chi, that specifically focus on increasing balance. Look for one in your community.
Eat for strong bones—talk to your doctor about your bone density. It is now known that many people don’t fall and break a hip, but rather the hip breaks and they fall. Your doctor can tell you how much calcium you should have on a daily basis. Diets rich in dairy products, leafy greens (like spinach and kale) and certain fish (sardines, salmon, perch) will help you reach your daily calcium goal. Fortified juices and cereals as well as calcium supplements are also available.
Do a home inspection—take a walk through your home with a critical eye for fall hazards. Clear clutter from the floors, remove loose throw rugs and be sure stairs have railings on both sides. Bathrooms should have rails for showers and toilets if necessary and non skid treatments on the floor of the shower and tub. Be sure all areas of the home are well lit (inside and out).
Don’t procrastinate when it comes to healthcare—stay current with medical appointments. Regular eye exams will reduce the risk of falls due to poor vision. Keeping with your schedule of medical appointments will help ensure that your medications are appropriate for your weight and condition and that there are no interactions between prescribed drugs that can cause dizziness or blurred vision.
Of great importance is not putting off making an appointment with our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas, at our Long Beach office if you are experiencing foot, toe or ankle pain, as well as monitoring existing podiatric conditions. Discomfort in the lower extremities can cause you to compensate and walk in unnatural ways that can lead to trips and falls. Contact us by calling: 562-420-9800.