It’s likely that you know of a senior family member or friend who has suffered a serious injury from a fall.
Falls are very common among the elderly. In fact, every year 2.8 million seniors need emergency room treatment for fall injuries – including 300,000 hip fractures (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)).
Broken hips are not the only common injuries from falls. The elderly can do serious damage to the head and other body areas like the feet and ankles in a fall including:
- Bone fractures anywhere from the ankle down to the toes
- Ligament damage
- Ruptured heel tendons
- Sprained ankle or other joint sprain
- Muscle strains
The Elderly Are at Increased Risk of Injury in a Fall
Aging increases the risk factors that can contribute to an injury in a fall. Older individuals experience more falls due to:
- Problems with balancing and walking
- Deteriorating vision
- Improperly fitting or inadequate footwear
- Neuropathy or nerve damage in the feet, commonly caused by diabetes, that reduces sensation
- Lower body weakness
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications that affect balance
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies like Vitamin D that can cause muscle weakness
Not all, but many of these factors can be addressed to lessen the chance of a fall.
You Can Lower Your Risk of Falling
While it’s not likely that you can eliminate all the risk factors for a damaging fall, Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle recommends these simple steps to counteract the effect of aging and reduce your risk:
- Stay active – with your doctor’s permission. Focus on leg strengthening exercises as well as those that improve balance like tai chi.
- Discuss your balance issues with your doctor especially if you take any prescription medications. Ask about vitamin D supplements.
- Get your eyes examined regularly.
Since half of dangerous falls occur at home, make your home safer from tripping dangers with these tips:
- Get rid of small throw rugs.
- Clear clutter from stairs and floors.
- Make sure that stairways have adequate lighting and sturdy handrails.
- Install grab bars in bathrooms.
- Organize the wires from electronics and appliances away from walkways.
Get Professional Help for Foot and Ankle Injuries
Dr. Lawrence J. Kales, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating all types of foot and ankle injuries. If you have any foot or ankle pain, please come in for an examination – you can request an appointment via the website or call us at our Hudson office at 727 868-2128 or our Spring Hill office at 352 683-5799.