Falls & Balance
Falls occur in 1 out of every 3 older adult. Age-related changes in strength, flexibility and nervous system function are some of the factors that increase the likelihood of falls. The outcome of a fall is usually a reduction in mobility. Mobility (or the ability to move around our environment) plays an increasingly important role in determining our quality of life. It is estimated that health care costs as a direct result of falls are approximately $6.7 billion (plus $2 billion of indirect costs) in Canada (it is 10 times that cost in the US) per year. Falls also accounted for 25% of the deaths that have been linked to unintentional injuries in Canada in 2010.
Falls are complex and many factors are involved; however footwear and foot problems play a major role in the control of balance needed to avoid falls. One of the immediate modifications that can be made are changes to footwear that improve balance control and reduce fall risk. Both of these contributions will result in improved mobility, health and a long-term reduction in falls and eventually a better quality of life.
Balance and falls are very complex and involve many factors that include strength, flexibility, neural sensation, and vision. The environment is also a major factor and includes lighting, flooring, surface hardness, and footwear. Unexpected loss of balance can happen at any time. Most times it can neither be consciously detected nor voluntarily planned for. Therefore, it is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings and to maintain the health of your muscles, eyes, senses and your feet.
Consequences of a fall
Roughly, one in three people over the age of 65 falls at least once a year. Such falls often lead to a loss of mobility, confidence and independence. Fall-related injuries such as hip fracture are not only devastating to our lives, but also costing the economy billions of dollars per year.
What can you do?
Quick balance movements require the ability to sense instability and then effectively control leg/arm movements to prevent falls - through stepping or grasping. Since our feet are the main connection with our environment, they would be the first spot to address. That is what BalancePro insoles can do. As we age the foot sole becomes insensitive and this has been shown to impair balance. The BalancePro insole provides enhanced sensation to the sole of the foot for better balance and therefore reduce your risk of falling.