Fall. A beautiful season. A potentially ugly verb. When it comes to the lovely colors of autumn we can appreciate a gift from mother nature. The natural force of gravity however can be problematic for ill equipped or neglected feet. People of all ages can be at risk for falls for a variety of reasons.
Children with congenital abnormalities in their walking pattern can be prone to tripping. The pigeon-toe or in-toe gait can be an underlying cause of this instability and for kids of certain ages it can be corrected painlessly with a pair of custom molded orthotics that fit into their shoes.
Teens and younger adults are also at risk of twisting their ankles and falling. Ankle instability is a pathology that we see fairly frequently as the source of our more active patients losing balance. This can be mitigated with corrective orthotics, bracing, physical therapy, and surgical reconstruction of the ligament, As people become more involved in sports and the rigor of their activities increases there needs to be careful attention paid to foot type, support, shoe gear.
Older adults are at the greatest risk of fall. A loss of balance can be devastating to an older individual's long term health. After a full evaluation and analysis of gait we counsel patients on proper assistive devices and ensure the shoes and insoles being used are appropriate. While we focus on the feet and a stable foundation we will also discuss lifestyle factors that can decrease fall risk. Management plans that we employ to decrease the risk of a fall include appropriate referrals to physical therapy and neurology, imaging of the foot and ankle, proper shoes, custom orthotics, and custom bracing.
If you or a loved one has had difficulty with walking please come in for an evaluation so that you can gain a better understanding of the underlying cause and we can put a plan together to increase stability. Stay well.