June is Older Americans Month and at North Jersey Podiatry we want to take this opportunity to talk about a risk to our senior patients: falls. Each year one in four Americans age 65 and older fall. Many of these falls result in serious injury, fractures, and disability. Your feet obviously play a key role in preventing falls, but there are other areas as well where you can take steps to minimize the risk. Below are some tips for fall-proofing yourself or someone you love:
- Don’t ignore foot pain. When your foot or ankle hurts it’s only natural that you try to walk in a way that will avoid putting pressure on the sore spot. This, however, alters your normal gait which can throw you off balance and cause a fall. If you are experiencing any lower extremity discomfort, contact our Wayne, NJ office for an appointment so that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, can examine your feet and ankles and diagnose the cause of the pain. Prompt evaluation and treatment will provide relief and reduce fall risk.
- Do a medication check. Ask your primary care doctor and/or your pharmacist to review your medication list and make sure there are no interactions between drugs or potential side effects that would result in dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Stay active. Exercise helps keep your legs and feet limber and flexible. Consider Tai Chi or other fitness activities that focus on increasing balance. If your current exercise regimen has become too difficult, ask your doctor to recommend a new plan.
- Check your home. Walk through your home with a critical eye or ask a family member to do with you. Look for tripping hazards such as loose rugs, plants or magazine racks that are low to the ground, electrical cords that stretch across walkways and clear any hazardous clutter. Make sure staircases have handrails on both sides and that all areas of your home—inside and out—are well lit.
- Move it within reach. Rearrange cabinets and counters so that frequently used items are within easy reach without the use of step stool or extensive reaching.
If you have fallen or are concerned about your individual fall risk, contact us for more information by calling: (973) 595-1555.