We live in an aging country, and while Greater San Antonio runs a little bit younger than the national average, there is still a sizable (and growing) population of older adults who are struggling with balance. As we age, we lose muscle strength in our legs and feet, and we’re increasingly likely to suffer from conditions such as neuropathy, arthritis, impaired vision, delayed reflexes, and more—all of which can contribute to instability. According to the CDC, perhaps as many as 1 in 3 adults over 65 fall each year, and the resulting injuries can often lead to extended hospital stays, permanent disability, and increased mortality.
But balance isn’t something you simple “have” or “don’t have”—it’s a skill that can be developed and improved at any age. At Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic, we offer our patients a FREE fall risk assessment, and Dr. Darren Silvester can provide the tool and strategies you need to remain steady even in later life.
Daily exercises and stretches can help you keep stabilizing muscles strong. Many of these are simple and can be performed while you’re completing other activities, such as washing the dishes. Standing on one leg (with a sturdy support nearby, of course) is a great one; if you can hold for more than 30 seconds, increase the challenge by closing your eyes or standing on a couch cushion. Walking heel to toe in a straight line is another method to try. Helpful exercise can be fun and even social, too. Tai chi or yoga classes are a great way to improve stability, flexibility, and confidence.
One tool we offer to patients who take the fall risk assessment is the More Balance Brace, which is billable to insurance (including Medicare) for good candidates. This fall prevention device fits under your foot and around your leg, is extremely lightweight, and may help reduce the risk of falling by 30 to 60 percent. It fits into most shoes easily, though certain styles provide more stability; we can help you pick out a good pair.
To schedule your appointment for a free fall risk assessment and learn more about exercises, therapies, and tools you can use to decrease your fall risk and improve balance, stability, and coordination, call Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Universal City at 210.375.3318 or Pleasanton, TX today at 830-569-3338, or toll free at 855-972-9512. You can also reach us online.