Our Portland-Area Podiatrists Help Seniors Stay on Their Feet
At Northwest Extremity Specialists, fall prevention is a cornerstone of our comprehensive podiatry care for seniors. If you're experiencing age-related podiatric issues, our Portland-area podiatrists can help you improve or maintain foot health, avoid falls, and stay active. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a skilled podiatrist at one of our 15 convenient locations.
Getting older brings numerous surprises, including soft tissue and structural foot changes that can make it challenging to maintain your balance, making falls and fall-related injuries more likely. Common foot problems can increase your risk of mobility- or life-threatening falls. Read on to learn more about senior foot health and find out how annual visits with one of our experienced podiatrists, prompt treatment for injuries and other podiatric concerns, and implementing fall prevention strategies can help keep you on your feet well into your golden years.
Adults Aged 65 and Older Face an Increased Risk of Fall-Related Injuries and Death
Falls are shockingly common and extremely dangerous for adults aged 65 and over. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year, resulting in roughly 3 million emergency room visits and more than 32,000 deaths annually. Falls aren't just a public health concern among the aging population—they're also the leading cause of injury and injury-related death for adults in this demographic. Foot and ankle issues can further elevate seniors' fall risk, underscoring the importance of maintaining foot health and receiving regular podiatric care.
The Link Between Falls and Foot Problems in Older Adults
Your feet are your foundation. Not only do your feet enable weight-bearing and ambulation (the ability to walk independently or with an assistive device), but they're also crucial to stabilizing the body to prevent falls when navigating uneven terrain. Unfortunately, as you age, your feet can experience changes that affect their function, such as:
- Increased soft tissue stiffness
- Reduced strength and range of motion
- Greater susceptibility to structural deformities like bunions, hammer toes, and mallet toes
These changes—as well as conditions like corns, arthritis, diabetic foot ulcers, and peripheral neuropathy—can disrupt gait patterns and impair balance and coordination, increasing your risk of falling.
Senior Foot Health and Fall Prevention Tips From Our Capable and Compassionate Greater Portland Podiatrists
Caring for aging feet doesn't have to be difficult. These simple tips can help you keep your feet and ankles healthy and reduce your risk of a life-altering or deadly fall.
- Pay attention to foot pain. Painful feet aren't an inevitable part of getting older. Often, it's a sign that you're suffering from a treatable podiatric problem. If you're grappling with chronic or acute foot pain that doesn't improve with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable and experienced podiatrists for diagnosis and treatment.
- Keep them clean, dry, and moisturized. Wash your feet with mild soap and warm—not hot—water, then pat them dry with a clean towel, thoroughly drying between your toes. Rub a moisturizing lotion or cream into the skin, but don't apply it between your toes, as this area should remain dry to reduce the risk of fungal skin or nail infections.
- Perform daily foot checks. Examine your feet every day, looking for cuts, redness, swelling, corns, calluses, blisters, sores, or other skin or nail changes, and contact our podiatrists if you find anything concerning.
- Leave routine foot care to us. Trimming nails or removing corns, calluses, or dead skin can be dangerous for older adults, especially if you have diabetes or another condition that affects circulation or sensation. Don't risk an injury—let our accomplished podiatric professionals handle your routine foot care needs.
- Protect your feet with proper footwear. Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes with suitable support and cushioning and any special insoles or orthotics your health care providers prescribe or recommend. Choose moisture-wicking socks and avoid going barefoot.