If You Are the Caretaker of a Family Member or Friend Here are Some Great Tips!
Falls in the elderly can be a devastating occurrence. Nearly 10% of these falls result in major trauma including major fractures and intracranial injuries.
Some of the risk factors besides advanced age are stroke, dementia, arthritis, neuropathy, diabetes, and impaired vision. Those over the age of 85 are even at higher risk.
The home can be a dangerous place for the elderly. Carpets, slick floors, worn-out shoe gear or slippers can all compound the problem.
So what can be done to lessen the risk?
In addition to some basic repair work around the home, an examination of the person's footwear is important. Additionally, if there is a weakness or diminished sensation in the lower extremities one should consider medical treatment including physical therapy if needed.
One treatment that is highly successful is an AFO brace or Ankle-Foot-Orthosis. This is a brace that controls motion in the foot and at the ankle and can help patients walk again. The brace can be prefabricated for mild conditions or made from a mold of the patient's foot and can be used to stabilize or even help the patient lift the foot up to clear the toes while walking, decreasing the chance of falling significantly. These braces can also help the patient walk with less pain which also decreases chances of falling. For diabetic patients, we add a layer of soft material to prevent injuries to their delicate skin.
Having your foot and ankle problem examined will allow your Podiatrist to determine which type of brace you may need and whether something off the shelf or a more custom brace will be needed.