July 2011

Inexpensive intervention reduces falls in older adults with severe foot pain

In the moment: Footcare

A multifaceted fall-prevention program introduced in a group of community dwelling older adults reduced falls by 36% compared with a control group, according to a June British Medical Journal study.

Investigators at La Trobe University in Bundoora, Australia, randomized 305 adults (mean age, 74 years) with disabling foot pain to two groups. All received a year of routine foot and ankle care. The 153 persons in the intervention group also participated in a program including orthoses, footwear advice and subsidies, home foot and ankle exercises, and fall prevention education.

Participants in the intervention group suffered 36% fewer falls than those in the control group. The proportion of fallers and multiple fallers didn’t differ significantly between groups. One participant in the intervention group sustained a fracture compared with seven in the control group.

Investigators found significant improvements in the intervention group in strength, range of motion, and balance, and advise lower extremity clinicians to consider incorporating similar programs into routine practice or multidisciplinary falls prevention clinics.

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