When people fall in slapstick comedy, it’s funny. We laugh at clowns “slipping” on banana peels or stunt actors “tripping” over rugs or going down stairs. When people fall in real life, the potential injuries are no joke. The consequences are worse if you’re older. Unfortunately, the people who can least afford a fall are the ones most at risk! Taking care of your foot health and strength is crucial to prevent falls and the injuries they may cause.
The Foundation for Falling Found in the Feet
People fall for lots of different reasons. They can trip, slip, stumble over obstacles, and get knocked down. Health issues can affect your sense of balance, too, increasing your chances for a tumble. Research, however, is finding that foot health and strength plays a much larger role than previously thought. Older people with frequent or chronic foot pain have a high chance of falling—and those who invest in foot care and the right shoes cut that risk significantly.
This makes sense. Your feet are your body’s foundation. They support all of your body weight and absorb the shock of your steps. They wear down with time, though, so seniors tend to have weaker and more unsteady feet. Eventually your tendons and muscles stretch out and aren’t able to support you quite as well as in the past. If you have a biomechanical issue, or pain that affects your feet, your foundation is even less stable.
Diabetes can be a big culprit, too. The fluctuating sugar levels damage the nerves in your lower limbs, leading to neuropathy. The loss of sensation and weakness that this causes may make your lower limbs more unstable. Medications to help control blood sugars may have side effects that further weaken your muscles and cause dizziness. Eventually this can negatively impact your balance and lead to more falls.
The Risks of a Tumble
When you’re young, tripping and falling may hurt, but it usually doesn’t cause serious problems. The older you are and the more health problems you have, the more likely that even slipping in your kitchen can have dangerous consequences. You might hit your head or break a bone as you land. Conditions like diabetes mean you have a harder time healing after an injury, too. With these kinds of risks, it’s important to actively prevent falls.
Taking Steps to Stabilize
Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to getting hurt. Strengthening your feet and improving your balance can help you stay upright and stable. Dr. Noah Levine will carefully examine your lower limbs and determine what factors may be contributing to your falls. Then our team can help establish a treatment plan to take care of the issue.
Exercising your feet and wearing the right shoes are some of the simplest and best ways to prevent falls. You need exercises that work both the toes and small muscles in your feet, along with the bigger stabilizers. They also challenge your sense of balance and your ankle stability, so you get stronger and better balanced with time.
The shoes you wear help support your feet, so they are important, too. They are especially necessary for people with diabetes, since the right shoes can also protect your feet from other injuries that could worsen your balance. Make sure you wear footwear that fits correctly and comfortably. It needs to support your arch and cushion your footsteps. It has to be the appropriate length, too—shoes that are too short will cause pain, while those that are too long may trip you.
It’s possible to prevent falls and avoid the injuries that may result. Don’t take your feet for granted, since they play an important role in your balance! Let Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas know if you struggle with tripping or staying upright. Just call (702) 839-2010 or send an online request to make an appointment with us.