Fall Risk Assessment
While falls are not an issue only for elderly people, it is estimated that one out of every three older Americans take a tumble during the course of the year. Fortunately, the majority of these falls do not result in critical conditions, but there are ones that do, and any tumble can have a negative psychological effect. Here at Waukesha Foot Specialists, it is our hope that you and your loved ones are able to stay safe. Understanding about falls and fall risk assessment can help in this regard.
Causes and Risk Factors for Falling
There are a wide range of reasons why individuals fall. At the top of the list is muscle weakness. To highlight the importance of continuing to exercise throughout your lifetime, older people who maintain muscle strength and flexibility are less likely to sustain a fall than those who tend to otherwise lead sedentary lifestyles. This ties directly into balance and gait—the biomechanics behind your natural walking pattern—as those who have poor balance or abnormal gait cycles are also at greater risk for falling.
Other potential causes for falls include:
- Postural hypotension – This condition is blood pressure that drops excessively upon getting up after lying down or sitting for an extended period of time. It can be related to medications, dehydration, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or infections.
- Slower reflexes – You may intend to make a move and catch yourself before falling, but not have the ability to do so because of slower reaction times.
- Footwear choices – Wearing high heels, backless shoes or slippers, and footwear with smooth soles are all potential contributing factors to a fall.
- Sensory issues – Peripheral neuropathy is one potential explanation for numbness in the feet that prohibits an accurate physical sense of where you are stepping.
- Medication – This is particularly true for individuals who take more than three prescription drugs, as dizziness and unsteadiness are common side effects. Always ask your physician about the potential side effects for any medication you take and how each prescription interacts with others you are taking.
Gait Analysis and Custom Orthotics
There are many instances when we may perform a gait analysis for a patient, but it is especially valuable for our older patients. In this process, we will evaluate what happens during your stride from a physical perspective to identify potential issues. This study can help us to create a proactive plan to help keep you safe and prevent falls from happening.
The results of such an analysis may indicate the chance for improvement with the use of custom orthotics. In such cases, we will create a customized set of devices that are intended to work with your unique foot structure and correct biomechanical issues we have observed.
Senior Foot Care in Waukesha, WI
Our practice treats foot and ankle issues for patients in all stages of life. Whether you need fall risk assessment on account of advancing age or because you’ve been involved in an accident, Waukesha Foot Specialists is here to help. We can not only provide an assessment, but will also create a plan to help keep you safe and upright. Schedule your appointment today at our Waukesha, WI office by calling (262) 544-0700.