Treat Your Feet: How Maintaining Healthy Feet Reduces Falls

We often blog about the danger associated with a potential fall for our elderly loved ones, but how dangerous can a fall really be?

According to research compiled by the National Council on Aging  (NCOA), among people aged 65 to 69, one out of every 200 falls results in a hip fracture.

This number may not seem like much so consider this, the NCOA also found that that number increases to one out of every 10 for those aged 85 and older.

Still not convinced a potential fall is life threatening for our elderly loved ones?

This final astonishing fact from the NCOA may change your mind: One-fourth of seniors who fracture a hip from a fall will die within six months of the injury.

Several weeks ago we continued our fall protection blog series on the top four bodily factors that affect an elderly loved ones risk of a fall. In that blog, we discussed how our hearing affects the likelihood of a fall. This week we plan on covering feet and how they affect our likelihood of experiencing a fall.

Feet, much like the rest of our body, feel the effects of aging. According to research from the Harvard School of Medicine, as we age:

  • The muscle tissue in our feet thin out
  • Blood is more likely to pool in our feet causing painful swelling
  • The fat pads under the heels and balls of our feet get thinner
  • The structure of our feet change (i.e. arches get flatter and toes tend to curl which increases imbalance)

It probably comes as no surprise that fall prevention and staying safely upright on our feet has a lot to do with taking care of our feet. Utilizing the following tips will not only increase and maintain your foot health as you age but it will also decrease your chances of experiencing a fall.

Exercise Your Feet

Based on recommendations from Harvard Medical School these three exercises will help maintain foot health.

  • Place a rubber band around both your big toes and rotate your feet away from each other while keeping your heels planted.
  • Use a resistance band attached to an anchor point, wrap your ankle with the band then stretch and rotate it.
  • Pick up small objects with your toes to increase tendon strength.

Wear The Right Shoes

Shoes that don’t fit properly or have slick soles can greatly increase a risk of a fall. To combat this, it helps to have your feet sized for length and width properly.

Additionally, the use of orthotic inserts, such as SmartCells anti-fatigue orthotic insoles, can help keep feet comfortable and stable in any pair of shoes one might choose.  Not only do SmartCells insoles keep users comfortable but they also help reduce the effects of plantar fasciitis and arthritic foot pain.

Keep Good Foot Hygiene

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to help maintain foot health is to keep your or your elderly loved ones feet clean.  Make sure you wash them daily and fully dry them out to reduce the risk infections such as athlete’s foot and fungal nail infections. It’s also important to keep nails clipped and when doing so, clip them straight across to reduce the risk of an ingrown toenail.

Use SmartCells Fall Protection Mats and Flooring

While maintaining the health and integrity of one’s feet is an important factor in reducing the risk of a fall, it is also important to have precautionary measures in place like SmartCells fall protection mats and flooring.

SmartCells fall protection mats and flooring employ a unique dual-stiffness technology that provides a stable, safe surface for standing, walking, wheeling and transferring, while at the same time provide significant cushioning in case of a slip or fall.

SmartCells fall-protection mats are safe and elegant.  They combine style and quality with molded-in beveled edges and allow wheeled objects to easily roll over them.

SmartCells fall protection mats are constructed of material that will not absorb liquid offering a practical solution to infection control issues.  SmartCells fall-protection flooring acts as an underlayment for many choices of standard floor covering, so you won’t even know it’s there, until a fall occurs.

SmartCells Fall Protection: We’ll be there when you can’t be.