Recurrent falls linked to foot pain, posture

Flat feet get you kicked out of the military and, as it turns out, could make you more susceptible to falls later in life.

A new study published in the journal Gerontology found seniors diagnosed with planus foot posture, also known as flat feet, have a higher risk of recurrent falls. So do people with severe foot pain, suggesting that both foot pain and foot posture play a role in falls among older adults.

Facts about falls:

87 percent of all fractures in older adults are caused by falls. 

Falls account for about 25 percent of all home admissions and 40 percent of all nursing home admissions.

40 percent of seniors who are admitted for a fall never return to independent living.

Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury in older adults.

“The important thing about foot pain is that oftentimes it’s treatable, so if we address foot pain, there is a chance and a high probability that we will be able to reduce falls,” says lead author Arunima Awale, research associate at Hebrew Senior Life’s Institute for Aging Research in a press release.

Using data from the Framingham Foot study, researchers found foot pain and foot posture were not related to any one fall, but foot pain and foot posture were often a factor in the case of multiple falls.

More than 30 percent of adults age 65 and older and more than 40 percent of adults aged 75 and older will fall at least once a year.

Topics: Clinical