Groundbreaking Study Proves Wearing Arch Supports Can Reduce the Risk of Falling Significantly By Improving Balance and Comfort in Older Adults
A recent groundbreaking study has proven that wearing a properly designed and fitted arch support results in significant improvements in balance, functional mobility, and reduced levels of pain in older adults. Poor balance, limited functional mobility and lower extremity and back pain increase the risk of falls in older adults. Older adults can lower their risk of falls by initiating self-care activities, such as wearing arch supports, to improve balance, comfort and mobility. Findings from the study are as follows:
Synopsis: Arch Support Use for Improving Balance and Comfort in Older Adults
Falls are a serious and costly health problem among older adults in the United States. Age related changes, diseases, medication, improper foot care and footwear affect balance and increase the risk of falls.
Neglect of the feet and improperly fitted shoes contribute to abnormal foot mechanics that cause areas of excessive pressure and pain.
Research has examined the effects of footwear on balance in the older adult, but there has been no previous research using arch supports as an intervention that may improve an older adults balance and comfort from joint and lower extremity pain.
Several studies have examined the use of arch supports as an interventional therapy in diabetes to improve foot ulcers. The results indicate that using foot orthoses as an intervention for diabetics with at-risk feet should be considered an important treatment intervention.
Other research using arch supports (foot orthoses) has proven a well documented advantage for long distance runners, and other professional athletes, providing relief from hip, knee, feet and ankle problems while reducing the risk of injury.
Study: Conducted by the Department of Nursing of Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA in conjunction with Bio Orthotics and Foot Efx Savannah, GA and Foot Efx Franchise Systems, LLC
Purpose: To examine the effect of arch supports on balance, functional mobility and back and lower extremity joint pain in older adults. Participants were tested without and with arch supports at the initial session, and again after 6 weeks of wearing the arch supports.
The Berg Balance Scale and TUG were used to assess balance and functional mobility. The Numeric Pain Distress Scale was used to assess pain. All of these tools have been proven to be clinically reliable measurement tools to assess balance, functional mobility and perceived pain in older adults.
The Symmetry arch supports manufactured by Bio Orthotics, Plano, TX, and distributed exclusively through Foot Efx location throughout the United States, used in the study were custom fit to each individual using a Brannock device to determine arch size (as well as recommended shoe size) and a footprint to identify areas of excessive pressure. The Symmetry product was selected for the study because of its unique ability to support all four arches while stimulating muscle movement and circulation. The product requires a "break-in" period that most participants found acceptable.
The majority of the participants reported compliance (wearing the arch supports daily) during the 6-week study period. There was a statistically significant improvement in balance and functional mobility, coupled with a significant decrease in pain in feet, knees, hips and back. There was no statistical significant change in ankle pain. In addition, 85.1% of study participants indicated that they benefited from the use of arch supports. The self-reported benefits included improved balance when walking, exercising, golfing, and bowling. The participants indicated they were able to walk better, stand longer, and experienced less pain in feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.
This study proves that wearing a properly designed and fitted arch support results in significant improvements in balance, functional mobility, and reduced levels of pain in older adults. Poor balance, limited functional mobility and lower extremity and back pain increase the risk of falls in older adults. Older adults can lower their risk of falls by initiating self-care activities, such as wearing arch supports, to improve balance, comfort and mobility.
FootEfx foot comfort centers located throughout the United States and Asia is committed to bringing customers comfort, relief and balance through their stress reducing arch supports, is already a step ahead of the findings. The Foot Efx team includes podiatrists, pedorthists, researchers, and other product specialists, as well as trainers and other foot care experts. FootEfx provides their customers with properly designed and fitted arch supports, often at the recommendation of physicians and other medical personnel. This study confirms what the professionals at FootEfx have been telling their arch support clients for years.
Download the study synopsis: