Balance Braces to Give You Your Life Back
At some point in your life, you will fall. That’s a pretty simple fact. We’re all human and accidents happen. This is generally not that big of a deal if you’re a younger person. Of course, it’s not fun, but most falls or trips aren’t catastrophic when you’re young.
However, a simple accident for a senior might have drastic consequences. What might have just resulted in a bad bruise when you were 30 or 40 could easily be a broken hip when you’re 70. You also will not be able to recover as quickly as you could have when you were 40 either.
People fall all the time, but sometimes, there’s a medical cause behind falls, especially if they’re occurring frequently. It could be a whole host of reasons: neurological reasons, arthritis, worsening balance, etc. Even if you’re relatively healthy, age can still have big ramifications for your balance. Some of the statistics on seniors and falls are staggering.
- 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.
Essentially, if you’re over 65, you have a pretty good risk of falling within a given year. If you’re over 80, that risk is even higher. The consequences of these falls increase exponentially the older you get as well.
Weakened muscles and bones are a bad combination and could easily result in a broken bone, which will affect your ability to stay active and healthy. Pair this with balance problems and you have a bad situation brewing.
There are also psychological consequences to falls, even if the fall is not a serious one. A fall may startle you enough to prevent you from taking risks and may keep you from exercising, which will once again affect your overall health. Clearly, the risk of tripping or taking tumbles poses a big risk for Americans over 65 in a host of ways outside of the simple damage of a fall.
Who is at risk?
This is a little bit of a loaded question, as we’ve already stated just how prevalent falls are among older Americans. We could very well tell you anyone over 65 lives with some degree of risk and that is true. (Even if you aren’t 65 or older, you still are at risk albeit not nearly as much as an older person or someone with a certain medical condition. Life happens- we get it.)
Going off of this, we keep an eye out for these following clinical considerations when assessing the risk of a serious fall.
- Any previous history of falling. This is one of the more telling indicators of a high probability 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.
It’s also worth noting that our patients can often tell if they’re at risk for a serious fall. If you feel instability in your gait or have caught yourself from falling before, you can probably guess that you’re at risk moving forward.
Many people often are aware of their individual health concerns and can admit to us that they’re slowly noticing that they have gait, ankle, or neurological issues. Our team here at the clinic can then format a game plan moving forward.
This is usually a good place to be, as your history primes us to best counteract potential issues with your health moving forward. As unfortunate as it is that you’re seeing us about these issues, it’s altogether for the best. We’ve seen histories of past conditions or falling slowly evolve into something more insidious: a serious injury as a result of a fall. Luckily, these clinical considerations help us evaluate your risk by looking at the past to inform the present and future.
The Benefits of Balance Braces
However, it is also worth noting that you don’t necessarily have to have a history of falls to be at risk. Yes, it’s telling if you have fallen in the past, but we also can notice slight issues in your gait or considerations for your condition to help us decide if you’re at risk.
What may be benign and unnoticeable to you may be a red flag to our experienced eyes. After all, we have a lot more experience spotting the risk factors of a fall. Even if you’re at a low risk of a fall, things can change suddenly. After all, it only takes one serious fall to seriously change your life style.
So what’s the best course of action to counter this? Balance braces!
You might be skeptical about this, but trust us- balance braces seriously stabilize your ankles and provide you an additional level of support to prevent bad falls. We’ve seen the right pair help our patients become much more confident in their movement; many are able to use these braces to return to the activities and hobbies they love without fear of an unexpected fall.
That sounds like a pretty good deal. But what are the considerations a possible braces patient should think about?
To begin, having the right brace is a good starting point. For instance, we could tell you about the benefits of running shoes, but that advice won’t make a difference if you end up with the wrong pair of shoes. The same applies to braces; quality matters.
The Moore Balance Brace
We proudly recommend the Moore Balance Brace for our patients. Why Moore? Surely there are a number of other brands we could offer. You’re absolutely right; there’s a myriad of other options we could recommend, but there are a few things about the Moore brand that sets it apart.
For one, the Moore Balance Brace is the only one that’s been clinically proven to reduce postural sway and increase postural stability. What does that mean?
Well, it means that we’re recommending you the best possible product we can, for one. However, we know that these scientific terms might need to be broken down a bit. Postural sway essential means any side-to-side movement that occurs during walking.
In that same breath, postural stability is just the ability to hold one’s self upright. A brace that’s clinically proven to reduce sway and increase stability is thus one that’s been scientifically proven to reduce the odds of a fall. You don’t need to be a doctor to understand that increasing your posture’s stability will help you in the long run!
The Moore Brace is also lightweight and easy to put on and take off, so you can only wear it when you need to! Each brace comes with a lightweight and durable polyester cloth covering, as well as PlastazoteTM for comfortable shock absorption, and easily accessible Velcro straps. These braces are best used in conjunction with a fall prevention regimen that may include physical therapy, certain exercises for strength-training, and an assessment of activities and areas to avoid. Our office is happy to discuss this with you as well.
Some “Moore” Information
We’ve heard a number of common questions and concerns about balance braces in our day, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you some answers to these frequently asked questions with the below bullet points:
- The Moore Balance Brace is typically prescribed bilaterally. You’ll most likely wear braces on both feet.
- The Moore Balance Brace is designed to be worn with shoes. Don’t think that you won’t be wearing your favorite sneakers when prescribed these braces.
- The Moore Balance Brace is lightweight and easy to put on and take off. Don’t think that you’ll get a monstrosity of a boot either; these braces are designed to add to your movement, not impede it.
Contact Us Today for Relief
Life happens and even the most intrepid and hardy individuals can find themselves succumbing to falls and tumbles as they age. It’s not a shameful thing- it’s just part of life!
So are you at risk of a fall? Are you noticing issues with your gait and posture? We can discuss the risk factors in this blog, but at some point, you’ll need a real medical professional to give you advice in person.
That’s where Dr. Timson and our staff come in. Give us a call today! The Community Foot Clinic of McPherson is standing by to get you the expertise you need!
Don’t let gait or balance problems put you at risk. We can evaluate your gait and go over your medical history to get an idea if you’re a candidate for a Moore Balance Brace. You can reach us at (620) 241-3313 or contact us online!