September is Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month to remind us to boost our nutrition by incorporating these delicious foods in our diet.
But September is also a great time for another important health reminder – Fall Prevention Month. Did you know that one out of every four Americans falls each year? An older adult is treated in an emergency room every 11 seconds for injuries related to a fall. More importantly, an older adult dies from a fall every 19 minutes!
Foot and Ankle Injuries Caused by Falls
Typical injuries caused by falls include:
Fractures. Foot, wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures are common.
Sprains. Although not as serious as a fracture, an ankle sprain may need substantial time to heal.
Head injuries. These can be very serious such as traumatic brain injuries.
Fear of falling. After a fall, even without injuries, an older person may become so fearful of falling that they weaken because they avoid their normal activities.
Fall Risk Factors
Many risk factors contribute to a fall for a person of any age:
Weakness in the lower body
Certain medications such as sedatives, tranquilizers, or antidepressants, and even some over-the-counter drugs
Inadequate or ill-fitting footwear
Hazards like electric wires, throw rugs, clutter, and broken steps
Falls can be prevented! Here are some ideas that are easy to implement:
Ask your healthcare provider how to reduce your risk of falling. Check your prescription and over-the-counter medications with him or her to see if any can make you sleepy or dizzy. Ask about the relationship between balance and Vitamin D.
Do exercises for strength and balance such as Tai Chi.
Get regular eye checks and update eyeglasses as needed.
Make your home safer with grab bars in the shower and near the toilet. Add railings to both sides of the stairs. Eliminate slippery throw rugs and add plenty of lighting to stairs and entryways.
Let Us Know If You Have Been Injured in a Fall
Foot or toe pain is not normal! If you have heel pain or plantar fasciitis, discomfort from arthritis, an injury or just from overuse, please call Michele Kurlanski, DPM at Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Kurlanski offers expert and professional podiatry services in Cumberland County, Maine. Please call us today at 207-774-0028 to schedule your appointment in our Scarborough office.