Accidental falls are the most common cause of injury among older adults, and the consequences can be devastating for seniors and their families.
- About a third of adults 65+, and half of those 80+, will fall at least once in a given year. Two thirds of them will fall again within the next six months.
- About 20% of those falls will cause a serious injury—such as a broken hip or traumatic brain injury.
- Approximately 10,000 fatalities per year are directly or indirectly related to falling, in just the United States.
Even seniors who aren’t injured physically by their fall may be affected psychologically, causing them to withdraw from activity and social engagement due to fear of falling again.
As podiatrists, we are deeply concerned about our patients’ health, physical and mental wellbeing, and quality of life. That’s why we are on the forefront of fall prevention for our patients, through the use of preventative tools like balance braces.
What Is a Balance Brace?
A balance brace is an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) designed and built to help reduce the risk of falls. The brace features a full footbed, supports the sides and back of the ankle, and the lower shin. While you wear it, it stabilizes your posture, reduces sway, and helps you maintain better balance while standing and walking.
It’s made from lightweight, low-profile, and durable materials that allow it to fit comfortably without feeling or appearing bulky or requiring special shoes. It also features an open design with large, easy-to-pull Velcro straps, so putting it on properly is a breeze even if you have limited mobility.
The footbed portion incorporates a custom orthotic and comfortable, cushioned plantar surface and tongue for comfort and shock absorption, too.
Who Can Benefit from a Balance Brace?
A balance brace can literally be a lifesaver for any person feeling unstable on their feet. Common clinical indications might include:
- Any previous history of falling
- Chronic ankle instability
- Ankle arthritis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Neurological conditions (foot drop, stroke, etc.)
- Vestibular disorder
- Vision or hearing impairment
- Any general difficulty with balance
Sometimes it only takes one fall—although 80 percent of falls do not result in a serious injury, you really don’t want to play the odds. Being proactive and obtaining a balance brace from a qualified foot and ankle specialist like Dr. Timson before your first fall can help keep you steady and safe.
Comprehensive Fall Prevention Care
The balance brace is just one component of our overall commitment to preventing falls and keeping you as stable, active, and independent as possible. We take a comprehensive approach to protecting and improving your balance and stability.
We can also help you by:
- Making sure your shoes are appropriate for your foot shape, activities, and needs.
- Guiding you through stretches and balance exercises to help you improve your stability.
- Recommending alternative activities and exercises so you can improve your fitness safely.
- Providing dietary guidelines to help keep you strong and stable.
- Directly treating foot and ankle conditions that can contribute to higher fall risk, such as neuropathy, ankle arthritis, ankle instability, heel pain, etc.
- Referring you to other specialists when necessary if non-foot-related problems (such as poor vision, vestibular conditions, etc.) are contributing to a higher fall risk.
If you aren’t feeling as stable or steady on your feet as you once did, please call (620) 241-3313 to schedule an appointment with us at the Community Foot Clinic of McPherson.
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