Preventing Falls In The Elderly: Where DPMs Can Have An Impact

Author(s): 
Douglas H. Richie, DPM, FACFAS

   At the same time, podiatric physicians should be cautious about using any recently marketed “devices” that purport to prevent falls in elderly patients. Using bilateral AFOs to treat musculoskeletal risk factors in elderly patients who have been identified at risk for falling has never been tested for safety and efficacy in preventing falls. Until this treatment has had testing via rigorous randomized clinical trials, our focus should be on implementing other interventions that peer-reviewed research has already validated.

   It is important for the podiatric physician to recognize his or her role as a member of a healthcare team in treating this vital public health issue. By following sound, scientifically proven guidelines, there is significant opportunity for podiatric physicians to become key players on the fall prevention team, which will improve the quality of life of their elderly patients.

   Dr. Richie is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Biomechanics at the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University. He is a Past President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. Dr. Richie is in private practice in Seal Beach, Calif.

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