Labor Day weekend is here, and many people consider summer to be over now. This means it’s time to put away the white pants until after Memorial Day, but also that the fall season is upon us. Temperatures are on their way down and we have several holidays coming up on the horizon. When we start to talk about fall prevention, we certainly aren’t talking about the season and all the good things it brings!
Instead, fall prevention is an important topic, especially as you start to hit the more advanced years. The body is simply remarkable, but it does start to break down a bit over time. This means you may need assistance from certain tools, like balance braces and ankle foot orthoses (AFOs).
Now, an AFO is a device extending from below the knee and down to the foot. These devices are used to maintain proper alignment, reduce instabilities and control motion in the lower limbs. Balance braces are custom-made AFOs designed to decrease the amount of falls in the elderly population. This is important because more than 14 million Americans aged 65 and older fall at least once every year. Balance braces are reported to produce a 30-60% decrease in the risk of these potentially serious falls.
AFOs, such as these balance braces, reduce the risk of falls by providing a structural support for muscles that have become weakened over time, thus improving balance. One particularly great feature of these devices is the fact they are can provide the extra support, but without being heavy. Many balance braces aren’t even that much heavier than the average cell phone!
Plastic AFOs are often custom-fabricated to better function with a patient’s unique foot structure, and enclose both the back of the calf and bottom of the foot to produce a stable structure. Some devices are created to allow for ankle movement, whereas others have fixed ankles. The style that will work best for a patient really depends on several factors, but almost all of these devices are able to be worn within a normal, lace-up shoe.
For more information on balance braces, AFOs, or to request an appointment with Sierra Foot & Ankle, give us a toll-free call at (888) 608-8406. You can also request your appointment right now for either our Gardnerville or Carson City offices with our online form!