As you grow old, your body starts to show signs of ageing. It’s natural, so dealing with potential problems before they become severe is a good way to go about spending your later years.
The risk of fall-related injuries increases with age and can affect the quality of life. Fall-related injuries can increase the risk of disabilities and the costs of hospitalisations. At this stage in life, such injuries can significantly affect your life moving forward.
According to the National Centre for Injury Prevention and Control, nearly 29 million fall incidents were reported in the United States amongst the elderly. That is 28.7% of that demographic. What’s more, 7 million of these cases required medical help or led to reduced activity for at least one day.
Given these alarming statistics, it is important to understand the risks of fall injuries in the elderly population. Doctors are continuously working on tools to better understand and examine the risk factors that contribute to the increasing risks of fall injuries.
Anne Felicia Ambrose from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Department of Rehabilitation Medicine) categorised fall risk factors as internal or external in her review. She states that the risk of falling depends on several risk factors, along with the age of the individual.
Age is a big contributor to the increasing risk of fall injuries. A number of changes in the body come with age, such as changes in muscle and bone health, cardiovascular health, and reduced mobility and reaction time.
In addition, there are age-related conditions such as arthritis and visual impairment that affect the mobility in an individual and may contribute to the increasing risk of fall injuries. That being said, fall risks and the health conditions associated with ageing can be managed through preventative care.
Your feet and ankles also go through changes as you age. These include reduced muscle strength and loss of posture control due to reduced range of motion in the lower body. As a result, your ability to keep balance may be impaired, which increases the fall risks.
External or environmental factors should also be taken into account when considering fall risks. These include poor lighting, slippery floors, loose rugs, unstable furniture in home, and poorly fitting shoes.
In a 2008 study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, the effectiveness of exercises as part of preventative care for fall risks was examined. The study confirmed that exercises focused on balance training led to reduced fall rates in the study population, comprising of the elderly.
Ageing is a natural process, but its effects can be managed through comprehensive preventative care. This can allow you to enjoy a healthy and active life in your later years and reduce the risk of injuries and health conditions.
The use of foot insoles may be prescribed as part of a complete preventative care programme. MASS4D® insoles can be used in improving balance along with exercises that increase muscle strength.
MASS4D® foot insoles can be beneficial in protecting the feet from repetitive stress and trauma and aiding function and mobility in the lower body.
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Reference: Bergen G., Stevens M. R., Burns E. R. (2016) Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥ 65 Years — United States, 2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): September 2016, Vol. 65, No. 37, pp. 993-998, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6537a2
Reference: Ambrose A. F., Paul G., Hausdorff J. M. (2013) Risk factors for falls among older adults: A review of the literature. Maturitas 75: March 2013, DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.02.009
Reference: Sherrington C., Whitney J. C., Lord S. R., Herbert R. D., Cumming R. G., Close J. C. T. (2008) Effective Exercise for the Prevention of Falls: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society: December 2008, Vol. 56, No. 12, pp. 2234-2243
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