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The influence of foot pathologies on falls in older people: A review of the literature

Faulkner, Suzanne (2010) The influence of foot pathologies on falls in older people: A review of the literature. In: BAPO Conference 2010, 1900-01-01. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Background: With the number of people over the age of 60 growing more than any other population group the issue of falls amongst the elderly is of growing concern. WHO figures show that approximately 28-35% of those aged ≥65 fall each year with significant socioeconomic and health impacts. It has been suggested that a better understanding of the influence of foot pathologies, in combination with orthotic intervention may reduce the occurrence of falls in and out of the home. Methods: A systematic review of orthotic related modifiable risk factors and their influence on falls. Findings: When four or more risk factors are identified the potential for a fall significantly increases. Inappropriate footwear and foot pathologies have been identified as modifiable risk factors. Identification and reduction of such risk factors is thought to reduce the potential for falls. Conclusion: Increasing awareness of the role of foot pathologies and footwear in falls in the elderly population and those who come into contact with them is required. Foot problems and painful feet have been identified and associated with an increased risk of falling with an associated reduction in mobility and quality of life. This literature review highlights the need for further research into the effectiveness of orthotic intervention in this patient group.