September 22nd is Falls Prevention Day and the 10th anniversary of the National Council of Aging’s quest to reduce the top cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults. At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC we believe prevention is the best medicine and so we’d like to share the following do’s and don’ts for helping reduce fall risk:
Do: inspect your home and look for ways decrease the chance of a fall. This includes making sure all areas of the home are well lit, placing frequently used items on shelves and cabinets within easy reach, installing handrails in bathrooms and stairs and removing items from the floor that can cause you to trip like electrical cords, magazine racks, potted plants, piles of papers and pet beds.
Don’t: put off eye exams. If you can’t see well you’re more likely to trip and fall.
Don’t: wear shoes that are worn out or that don’t fit properly.
Do: take advantage of curb cuts and ramps when walking in urban areas. Be aware of your surroundings and look for possible hazards like wet or icy patches, broken pavement, acorns, etc.
Do: maintain a healthy weight and eat a calcium-rich diet (leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, dairy products and calcium fortified juices and cereals) to help increase bone strength.
Do: consider signing up for an exercise class that focuses on improving balance, such as Tai Chi.
Don’t: ignore foot or ankle pain. Foot disorders, injuries and deformities (such as bunions and hammertoes) can cause you to walk in a manner that will help avoid the pain but may then increase your chances of losing your balance and falling. Our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko will examine your feet and find the cause of your discomfort. Braces, orthotics, physical therapy and other treatment methods can help eliminate pain and strengthen your foot muscles, making it easier to walk with ease. If you are having a problem with your feet, contact our Valley Stream (516-825-4070) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) office for an appointment.