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25th August 2016
No more Falls! Balance boosting tips for the Elderly
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisations in people aged 65 years and over. A common and very debilitating injury sustained from a fall is a fracture to the neck of the femur (broken hip).
There are many common causes of falls in the elderly population:
- Chronic health conditions such as heart disease, low blood pressure, obesity and dementia
- Impairments such as poor vision and inflamed ear drums
- Environmental causes such as upturned rugs, objects on ground, poor lighting, wet and slippery surfaces etc
Another common cause of falls is poor mobility, balance, proprioception, and strength in our legs and feet – and this is where our Podiatrists can help you out.
As we get older it is natural that our bodies are not as nimble, agile and strong as they once were. Unfortunately nobody can escape the aging process, however the more we keep moving and doing things the more able-bodied we remain. Like I have mentioned many times before – use it or lose it!
With age our feet become less mobile than they used to be. This stiffness makes walking on different, uneven surfaces more difficult and unsteady.
ANSWER – do exercises to keep your feet flexible!
With age our proprioception (message pathway from feet to brain) slows down. For example, the message to your brain telling you that you’ve stood on your grandkids lego may not fire as quickly – making you stumble.
ANSWER – do exercises to improve your proprioception and balance!
With age our muscle strength may dwindle – making climbing stairs, lifting heavy objects, side-stepping out of the way of a trolley etc more difficult.
ANSWER – do exercises to improve muscle strength!
Now you’re probably thinking that I’m suggesting you head to the local gym and pump some serious iron? Not necessary. Incorporating certain exercises (with correct technique of course) into your daily activities is most helpful and also most sustainable. Doing a few extra chair squats each time you sit down, or parking a bit further away from the shopping centre and making yourself walk a bit further each day.
At Foundation Podiatry Townsville we appreciate how amazing our feet are and what they are designed to do - and hence have developed our ACTIVE FOOT FORMULA. We can give you specific exercises to improve the mobility, proprioception, balance and strength of your feet and legs. This will reduce pain and give you more confidence and endurance with walking, managing your daily tasks and allow you to return to the hobbies you love most!
To best address your needs, we also work alongside other local health professionals such as Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists. Our senior Podiatrist Hayley also has a great appreciation of the benefits of yoga, tai chi and pilates when it comes to foot health and balance.