Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: fall prevention

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 08, 2018
Tags: fall prevention  

Many of us take unnecessary risks in doing ordinary tasks when these could have been easily avoided.

Here are 5 tips to avoid falling for young and old:

  • Wear the right footwear - as Seattleites we don't usually have to deal with snow and ice but if this past year is any measure of what the future holds, we'll have to be just as cautious as our Easterly neighbors. Choose boots that have skid proof bottoms. Avoid or limit high stiletto heels in any weather as they also increase risk of falls.

  • Go slowly on snow and ice - when we do get snow and ice on the ground we're more likely to fall than our cousins in Eastern Washington because we aren't used to navigating this kind of terrain. Go slow and walk carefully. Keep in mind, just because a surface doesn't look icy doesn't mean it isn't.

  • Avoid texting and walking at the same time - our city streets and sidewalks have plenty of walking hazards just waiting to trip us up regardless of the weather. Keep your eyes on the walkway or road in front of you to avoid small potholes or irregularities in the pavement.

  • Improve your strength and balance - building up your core strength is key to maintaining your balance. Yoga, pilates, and specific exercises such as plank can all help in building up your core muscles. (Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.)

  • Make your home safer - believe it or not your home is one of the most hazardous places when it comes to falls. This is particularly true for the elderly, but loose carpets, stray extension cords, papers and magazines or other objects on the floor can trip up anyone.

If you feel unsteady on your feet or you've fallen in the last year, it's time to come in and get a fall balance assessment and learn more about how your Seattle podiatrist can help you prevent falls.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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Do you have trouble walking due to a disability or other foot or ankle problem?  Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are testing robotic exoskeletons to decrease the amount of energy it takes to walk.

Although they are having some success, the use of exoskeletons to help improve your walking is still a long way from becoming an affordable reality.

Fortunately, you can take advantage of (AFOs) ankle foot orthoses which are proven to help people who have a variety of problems walking.

Arizona Brace
Severe Flatfoot
Many people have flat feet and are prone to get plantar fasciitis. But if you have severe flatfoot, meaning you're feet are so pronated you are practically walking on the inside of your feet, an Arizona Brace is what this Seattle podiatrist recommends.

Chronic Ankle Instability
Frequently, this condition develops after an ankle sprain that has not healed adequately. Patients complain about repeated ankle turns particularly on uneven surfaces, lasting discomfort and swelling, pain, and feeling unsteady.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
People who participate in high impact sports are most at risk for developing this condition. It can develop from a tear or overuse. The foot becomes unstable and flat foot develops.

Moore Balance Brace
The Moore Balance Brace is recommended for people who feel unsteady on their feet or have sustained a fall. It is also commonly prescribed for patients with diabetic neuropathy who have trouble feeling their feet. The brace greatly improves stability, reduces fear of falling, and provides patients with more confidence when walking.

If you're having problems walking for any of the reasons listed above, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

As a Seattle podiatrist I see many patients in my office who are at risk for falls. I serve a lot of seniors with foot problems who often take medications that can make them dizzy, have problems with vision, or other problems that place them at risk for falling.

Particularly problematic are those patients who have a combination of osteoporosis and a risk for falling. Osteoporosis or severe bone loss means that bones are very fragile. Patients at risk for falling and have osteoporosis are much more likely to fracture a hip and end up in a nursing home. Women ages 65-69 are 5 times more likely to die within a year if they break a hip than those that don't.

Here are some tips for avoiding the deadly combination of osteoporosis and falls:

Osteoporosis Prevention
Women are at greater risk than men for developing osteoporosis. Bones begin to thin as we people age but for women this thinning process accelerates during menopause due to lack of estrogen. Thin women, women who are Caucasian and Asian, or are predisposed due to heredity also place women at higher risk for this condition. To prevent osteoporosis women over 50 need to:

  • Have a bone mineral density test to determine if your bones are thinning.

  • Weight bearing exercises - exercises such as walking, climbing stairs, running, or dancing will help build bone. Weight lifting adds even more weight to your body. You can start with 5 pound free weights and build up from there. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

  • Supplementing with vitamin D and calcium - getting enough vitamin D and calcium are essential for preventing osteoporosis. You'll need to use supplements to get enough vitamin D, particularly in an area like Seattle where there is little sun. A healthy diet containing lots of leafy greens, fish with bones, milk, and other foods are probably enough to provide the calcium you need.

Fall Prevention
Preventing falls is the other side of preventing deadly fractures in older adults. For more information, read about our program" In Balance Fall Prevention Program".

Other resources:
Am I At Risk for Falling
Walking Can Keep You On Your Toes As You Age
Making Your Home Less Hazardous to Your Health

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

On brilliantly, beautiful days like today we all crave spending more time outside before the rain sets in for months on end. For most of us going out for a stroll in a park is no big deal, but for older adults and people with diabetes walking can lead to falls--in fact 25% of older adults fall each year. For people with diabetes the annual incidence rises to 39%.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) many problems can lead to increased fall risk for those over 65.

  • Problems with balance

  • Use of medications that can interfere with balance such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or anti-depressants.

  • Problems with vision

  • Foot pain or improper foot wear

  • Lower body weakness

  • Vitamin D deficiency

People with diabetes particularly those with peripheral neuropathy have additional fall risks including:

  • Decreased or no sensation in the feet

  • Impaired sweat and oil production which can place abnormal pressure on the bones and joints when walking

  • Muscle weakness

  • Painful foot problems such as bunions or hammertoe can cause pain that makes walking difficult.

    At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, Dr. Rion Berg specializes in treating patients with diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. We also offer a special "In Balance Fall Prevention Program". Even if you don't have diabetes, if you're over 65 and experiencing foot problems there is a lot that can be done to reduce or eliminate your pain so you can continue to enjoy the bright sunny days while they're still here.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

 

As Kerri, one of our newer staff additions cheerfully asks another patient to complete our Balance Assessment Questionnaire, it reminds me of the great articles I read this weekend in the New York Times about the soaring impact of falls on older adults.

I highly recommend reading “Bracing for Falls of a Nation”, “A Tiny Stumble, A Life Upended”, and “Steps to Avoid An Accident”. These articles are great reminders to all of us about the importance of putting into action the things that can help prevent falls no matter what our age but particularly if we’re over 65.

What You Can Do to Prevent Falls?

Particularly important is the well-researched information about the benefits of exercise and taking Vitamin D to keep us fit and strong.

One type of exercise that is particularly helpful is Tai Chi. This ancient Chinese Martial Art was developed for defense and health benefits. Not only does it improve flexibility and balance, it also enhances lower extremity strength and improves postural stability according to the Journal of Gerontology which conducted a randomized control trial in 2005. Older adults are less likely to injure themselves if they do fall if they participate in exercises that improve balance and strength.

Taking Vitamin D also helps improves muscle strength and balance and staying hydrated is important for those at risk for low blood pressure to prevent dizziness and falls.

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, we’ve taken a comprehensive approach to keep our older patients from falling with our “In Balance” Fall Prevention Program. The Balance Assessment is the first tool we use to assess each person over 65 that walks through our doors. Patients who are at risk receive a full balance assessment, information, and devices that will help them live healthier, longer lives.

Call us at 206-368-7000, if you had a fall in the past year or other concerns about balance.