Foot & Ankle Characteristics Associated with Falls in Older People | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

Foot & Ankle Characteristics Associated with Falls in Older People

Foot & Ankle Characteristics Associated with Falls in Older People -

Foot & Ankle Characteristics Associated with Falls in Older People

Falls affect approximately 1 out of 3 Older Adults. Foot problems are amongst the potential modifiable risk factors. Pol et al. (2021) investigated the associations between foot and ankle functional and structural characteristics with falls in community-dwelling older adults.

  • 187 community-dwelling older adults aged 62–90 years were studied.
  • Foot & ankle structure and function (including foot posture, range of motion, muscle strength, deformity, pain and plantar loading patterns during walking) were measured.
  • Fall history was documented in the preceding year.
74 Participants experienced a fall (~40%).

Factors significantly and independently associated with these falls:
  • Less first metatarsophalangeal joint extension.
  • Less plantarflexor muscle strength.
  • Greater pressure-time integral in the medial forefoot.
  • Greater center of pressure velocity in the forefoot.
  • Greater foot pain.

Several structural and functional foot and ankle characteristics were associated with falling in older people. Future development of interventions to help prevent or treat these potentially modifiable risk factors may help decrease the risk of falling in this population.

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Pol et al. 2021. Structural and functional foot and ankle characteristics associated with falls in older people. Gait & Posture. (88), pp. 78-83.

Dalton Urrutia, MSc PT

Dalton is a Physical Therapist from Oregon, currently living and running the performance physiotherapy clinic he founded in London for Grapplers and Strength & Conditioning athletes. Dalton runs the popular instagram account @physicaltherapyresearch, where he posts easy summaries of current and relevant research on health, fitness, and rehab topics. 
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