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Podiatrists advise extra care in winter weather

Podiatrists advise extra care in winter weather

The College of Podiatry is urging older people, and others at risk of falls, to take extra care and wear suitable footwear as the Met Office warns of icy conditions.

Falls can result in serious injuries, including hip fractures and head traumas. They can be a turning point in an older person’s quality of life, impacting upon their ability to live independently and sometimes result in admission to a residential nursing home. 

Half of those who sustain a hip fracture never fully recover. The likelihood of having a fall increases significantly after the first fall, and one person in five who has a fall actually dies within three months.

Dr Paul Chadwick, Clinical Director at the College of Podiatry said:

“We are urging older people, and those taking care of them, to be especially vigilant as the temperatures fall this Christmas.

“Foot and leg ailments and inappropriate footwear increase the risk of falls, but there are some very simple steps that people at risk of falls can take to reduce this risk. One is to wear well-fitting, supportive, non-slip footwear.

“That means wearing carpet-slippers that are fitted all the way round the foot and which have a non-slip sole, and not going outside in wellingtons in the snow. Outdoor footwear should have arch support and a sole that grips so it can produce some purchase in icy conditions.

“It is important that anyone at high risk for falling or with a history of falls - perhaps due to stroke or arthritis - has an assessment of their foot and leg health by a podiatrist who can advise on appropriate footwear and other measures to help prevent any accidents.”

Earlier this month, the College reported that a third of NHS Trusts don’t operate a dedicated Falls Prevention Team, despite National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance advising comprehensive risk assessments for older people who need medical attention because of a fall.

With an individual hip fracture costing around £6,000, falls cost the NHS around £2.3 billion a year with significant costs for social care services too.

Preventing falls would not only reduce the financial burden for health and social care services, but would undoubtedly improve the lives of those people who are affected by one or more falls.

Dr Chadwick continues:

“Anyone caring for an older person should check where their community podiatrist is located, in case they need them.

“This time of year always sees an increase in hospital admissions to falls and slips, and we would also advise anyone finding themselves admitted to hospital, for whatever reason, to wear non-slippy footwear around hospital buildings, as floors can be shiny and slippery.”


For further media information, please contact:

Claire McLoughlin, Senior Media Officer, The College of Podiatry on 020 7234 8648 or email: cm@scpod.org

 

Notes to Editors

1.       The College of Podiatry is the academic authority for podiatry in the UK, and an independent charity dedicated to foot health research, education and public awareness. The College is the public facing and academic arm of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists – the professional body for the UK’s registered podiatrists. Podiatry is the field of medicine that specialises in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the foot and lower limb.