Some things are meant to fall - leaves, rain, the musical scales of a song. Human beings shouldn’t expect to fall. But the truth is that many people think falling is an inevitable part of the aging process. Not true. Senior citizens can do a lot to prevent a fall. In recognition of Falls Prevention Awareness Day (September 23, the first day of fall), the board-certified podiatrists at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center offer these eight tips to help you stay on your feet:
Fix your feet. Foot problems like bunions, arthritis, and peripheral neuropathy can make you unsteady on your feet. They can change the way you walk and alter your center of balance.
Wear the proper shoes. We’re acquainted with an octogenarian with a weak hip (not an actual patient of ours) who’s fond of traipsing across her basement floor to empty the garbage wearing moccasins from the 1990s, the back of the heel crushed into the sole, her foot gliding along on top of it. Clearly, this is a recipe for slipping and falling. Shoes should cushion and support your feet. Discard old shoes that don’t fit properly.
Look where you’re going. Not only should you pay attention to your footfalls, but you should also ensure that your vision is properly corrected. Always wear your glasses. Visit your eye doctor at least once per year, more often if you’re having problems seeing.
Stay active. Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, Tai-chi, and yoga keeps your core and leg muscles strong, giving you a firm base of support that won’t easily tip over.
Stay alert. Side effects from some medications can increase your risk of falling. Seniors who take medications that make them tired or drowsy should talk to their doctor about modifying their prescription.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your concerns and fears. Are you afraid of falling? Fear of falling can be a major contributor to an actual fall. What’s behind your fear? Have you fallen already? Are you feeling unsteady? Holding onto walls and furniture to get around the house? These are things you shouldn’t keep to yourself. To stay safe, talk to a family member or call us at (732) 905-1110. Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Dan Phan, and Dr. Joseph Saka are available to perform a fall risk assessment. We’ll ask you questions, examine your feet, and recommend physical therapy to strengthen any weaknesses in your body that may increase your risk of falling. Contact us online for an appointment at our offices in Howell or Jackson (Monmouth County), New Jersey.