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The Role of Podiatry in the Prevention of Falls in Older People

A JAPMA Special Issue

Bijan Najafi Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance (iCAMP), Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ.
Arizona Center on Aging, University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ.

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Eling D. de Bruin Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.

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Neil D. Reeves IRM, School of Healthcare Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

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David G. Armstrong Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance (iCAMP), Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ.

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Hylton B. Menz Lower Extremity and Gait Studies Program, La Trobe University, Australia.

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Given the age-related decline in foot strength and flexibility, and the emerging evidence that foot problems increase the risk of falls, established guidelines for falls prevention recommend that older adults have their feet examined by a podiatrist as a precautionary measure. However, these guidelines do not specify which intervention activities might be performed. Published in this special issue of JAPMA are nine high-quality articles, including seven original studies and two basic science reviews, focusing on the benefit and impact of footwear and foot and ankle interventions in reducing the risk of falling. The selected studies discuss various relevant questions related to podiatric intervention, including adherence to intervention; preference and perception of older adults in selecting footwear; benefit of insoles, footwear, and nonslip socks in preventing falls; fear of falling related to foot problems; benefit of podiatric surgical intervention; and benefit of foot and ankle exercise in preventing falls. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(6): 452–456, 2013)

Corresponding author: Bijan Najafi, PhD, interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance (iCAMP), Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), University of Arizona, College of Medicine, 1501 N Campbell Avenue, Room 7342, Tucson, AZ 85724. (E-mail: najafi.bijan@gmail.com)