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Podiatry care for falls prevention in elderly

Falls are the predominant cause (58%) of injury-related emergency department attendances for older people within the EU.

Falls are an inevitable part of ageing. However, there is ample evidence that falls prevention

programmes are effective among older adults. Fall programmes are essential for elderly to

assess for and manage a combination of risk factors.

Numerous factors can lead to a fall!

Risk factors for falls are commonly grouped into three main categories:

1. Intrinsic factors, including: poor muscle strength and flexibility, poor balance, reduced

physical function and gait speed, reduced cognition and sensory impairment, medical

conditions and related medication.

2. Behavioral factors, including: inadequate diet, use of inappropriate footwear, above

moderate alcohol use, and changes in mobility patterns due to fear of falling.

3. Environmental factors, including: uneven pavements, slippery surfaces, poor lighting,

worn carpeting, and hazardous steps.

Foot health plays a large role in preventing falls.

Foot problems, which are common in older people have been shown to be a contributing factor

to falls. Foot and ankle risk factors for falls are stiffness in foot and ankle joints, reduction in foot

muscles strength, hallux valgus deformity (bunion) and inappropriate footwear.

In view of this, podiatry care is essential in preventing falls. Podiatric management includes:

1. Regular podiatry care to manage painful lesions (e.g. corns and callouses),

2. Tailored foot and ankle exercises

3. Footwear advise. Advise on the best choice of footwear according to the needs of the

patient’s foot.

4. Foot orthoses to manage balance and increase stability, whilst prevent and manage

painful conditions, when necessary.

At Steps Clinic, our Podiatrists can help you with your foot problems. From specific tests to

management of foot skin, nails and musculoskeletal conditions, you can always count on us for quality and compassionate care. Contact us for further information or to make an appointment.

Given the demonstrable link between feet, footwear and falls, an inexpensive and simple to

implement multifaceted podiatry intervention has been developed and studied within an

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