Manage Arthritis, Minimize Fall Risk

Many senior patients mistakenly believe that certain things are inevitable as we age, such as arthritis and an increased risk of falling. National Fall Prevention Awareness Day happens each September and we at Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle want to take this opportunity to dispel this myth and offer ways to improve foot health and decrease fall risk.

Improving Joint Health

Arthritis is a common condition that tends to affect older people the most (although it can occur at any age). It causes inflammation and decreased function of the joints. When it occurs in the feet, ankles, knees, and back, it can increase the risks of falls by up to 30%. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that if you have arthritis you are going to experience more falls. Fortunately, arthritis and fall risk can both be managed with the proper care.

Don’t Ignore Pain

The first step is to deal with pain promptly. If you are experiencing achiness, stiffness or decreased range of mobility in your feet and ankles, make an appointment at our Spring Hill (352 683-5799) or Hudson (727-868-2128) office in the nature coast of Florida. Our podiatrist, Dr. Lawrence J. Kales, will examine your feet and determine the source of the discomfort. If you do have arthritis, the foot doctor will partner with you and other physicians to develop a treatment plan that will decrease pain and ensure continued mobility.

Keep Moving

Although it may seem like resting painful joints is a good idea, quite the opposite is true. Staying active with a combination of aerobic, strength training, and weight-bearing exercise will improve joint health and help you stay flexible. There are many fitness programs specifically designed for joint health and they also work on balance—another key component in preventing falls.

Watch Your Diet

It just makes sense: the more weight your feet have to carry, the more likely they are going to be strained and pained. Maintaining a healthy weight also makes it easier to be active. In addition to watching calories, there are foods that can help reduce inflammatory response in your body. These include dark, leafy greens, certain berries, olive oil, and fish high in omega-3’s, to name a few.

Review Medications

Medications can help relieve joint pain and manage other chronic conditions you may have, but they can also cause dizziness or fainting if the dosage is incorrect or they interact with each other. Periodically review your medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have more questions about joint health in your lower extremities or how to reduce your fall risk, contact Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle today!