September is the month when we observe Falls Prevention Awareness Day. At Gentle Professional Foot Care, we want help our senior patients (and those who love them) avoid this all too common injury. Falls are the number one cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries to seniors. The effects go beyond the physical too. A fall can rock your confidence and lead you to limit your activities which can greatly reduce your quality of life.
The good news is that most falls can be prevented. All too often, however, myths and misinformation about falls keep older adults from taking the necessary actions to decrease their risk. Don’t “fall” for the following:
Myth: “Falls happen to other people, not me.”
Truth: For many seniors, falling is a complete surprise. But if you know the facts, it shouldn’t be. 1 in 4 adults age 65 and older will fall this year. In fact, every 11 seconds someone goes to the emergency room for a fall injury. There are many factors that increase your risk and you can control most of them if you know what to do.
Myth: “I’ll just stay at home. If I don’t go out, I won’t be in a situation where I might fall.”
Truth: Over 50% of all falls happen in the home. You can take steps to fall-proof your home. These might include:
Increasing lighting in dark corners, in stairwells, hallways and outside your entrances
Removing throw rugs, floor planters, magazine racks, footrests and other objects that are low to the floor and might be a tripping hazard
Re-route electrical and computer cords so they do not go across an area where you walk
Install grab bars in the bathroom
Myth: “I’ve got arthritis. That makes falling something that I don’t have much control over.”
Truth: Medical conditions that affect your feet and cause pain, such as arthritis, can increase your fall risk if you don’t take action. Talk to our podiatrist Dr. Charles A. Suleskey about what you can do to decrease pain and help your feet function better. Custom orthotics, physical therapy and exercise are all paths to decreased discomfort and decreased fall risk.
Myth: “My feet are the only part of my body that I need to worry about when it comes to falling.”
Truth: Many facets of your health can increase the chances of a fall. Low vision, medications, conditions that cause dizziness or lightheadedness and nutrition can all impact your risk of falling.