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Don’t let a fall dampen your retirement

Falls are a serious health concern for Canadians 65 years and older as each year one in three seniors has a fall. For the seniors who break a large joint, such as a hip, the fall can be life changing as they may never walk unassisted again. Although age brings an increased risk of falling, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

The first and most important step is to keep active. Daily activity, whether you participate in a formal exercise program or sport, run errands on foot, or work in the garden, helps to maintain the muscles in your feet and lower limbs and improve your balance. Exercise is important at all stages of life so make sure it remains part of your daily routine as you age.

Wearing proper supportive footwear, both inside and outside the home, also plays an important role in fall prevention. Supportive, proper fitting shoes increase balance and stability which in turn reduce the risk of falling. Although it is tempting to wear a comfortable pair of soft, loose slippers at home, slippers don’t provide any support and fall off easily, particularly on stairs, possibly causing you to trip. As we age painful foot conditions such as arthritis, foot ulcers, bunions and hammertoes become more common, making slippers an even more tempting choice. However, replace your slippers with a supportive pair of comfortable, indoor shoes to increase your balance and stability. Be sure to look for shoes with a wide toe box and no irritating seams running across tender areas as well as laces or Velcro fasteners so you can adjust the fit. Most importantly look for shoes with non-stick soles.

Walk through your home and look for tripping hazards. Get rid of loose throw rugs that slide when you walk on them or have edges you can trip over. If you have clutter on the floor put it away. Also consider increasing your lighting so that you can clearly see where you are walking.

If you are experiencing foot or lower limb pain, don’t assume it is a natural part of aging and something you have to live with. Painful lower limbs throw off your balance and reduce your ability to lead a healthy active life so you should address it right away. Ask your family doctor for a referral to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. Your Canadian Certified Pedorthist will conduct a full assessment of your lower limbs and recommend ways to reduce your pain and increase your mobility.

By Meghan Knox, C. Ped (C), Guelph, Ontario

Give Dad Sport Specific Shoes for Father’s Day

Many people find Father’s Day one of the most difficult gift buying occasions of the year. The days of giving ties and coffee mugs are long gone and the ever-popular grilling tools and shaving sets are losing their appeal. Finding a thoughtful gift for Dad that he’ll get much enjoyment from is a tough assignment but I have a suggestion. Buy Dad a pair of sports specific shoes.

As a Canadian Certified Pedorthist I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing shoes that are designed for your specific sport. Sport specific shoes greatly increase comfort and performance and most importantly they reduce the risk of injury. Many men, who participate in a recreational sport don’t wear sport appropriate footwear. Father’s Day is a great opportunity to buy Dad the shoes he needs and will love.

Getting A Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferer Back On Her Feet

When I was completing my Bachelor of Science at the University of Waterloo I had the opportunity to work with a number of professors and graduate students who were doing biomechanical research. This experience sparked my interest in foot biomechanics, particularly how people adapt to walking on varying terrain and how they modify their techniques when they are injured or in pain.

Today, one of the aspects I enjoy most working as a Canadian Certified Pedorthist is assessing abnormalities in patients’ walking cycle and following the evaluation, determining the pedorthic treatment that will help them achieve their personal activity goals. I get a deep personal satisfaction each time I am able to help a patient who has been struggling to perform their daily activities.

Foot Pain Is Optional

I believe foot pain is largely optional!

This may seem like an unusual and unfair statement to make, particularly as I spend my days counselling and treating patients who are suffering from foot pain so let me explain. Foot pain can be very severe and debilitating and it can be experienced by people of all ages. However, in the vast majority of cases, foot pain can be eliminated or eased. The primary reason people live with foot pain is because they delay treatment, either because they mistakenly believe the pain is something they have to put up with or because they don’t know where to go for help.

Don’t Let A Blister Ruin Your Fun

Blisters are miserable. Whether they are on your toes, heels or the soles of your feet nothing can take the enjoyment out of a beautiful hike or relaxing run more than a painful blister. Although many people consider blisters a rite of passage for breaking in a new pair of shoes or a small price to pay for looking glamorous in high heels, blisters are largely avoidable.

Winter Footcare Dos and Don’ts

In Canada winter is tough. Frigid temperatures, ice covered roads and paths and endless snow, sleet and wind is tough on cars, houses and even feet. Here are some tips to help you protect your feet during Canada’s toughest season:

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