Did you know that one in three people over the age of 65 lose their balance and fall? As one ages, this risk increases. As a podiatrist, I have learned that as we age, we become stiffer over time. As we become stiffer, we compensate by changing the way we walk by shuffling our feet, which leads to more stiffness but also a loss of balance will soon follow.
Losing that sense of balance is a terrible feeling. I have treated and walked with many older patients who feel hopeless. On top of this, the greater problem is that a fall could sustain an injury like a broken hip, which will significantly and negatively impact one’s overall health and well-being. I knew there had to be a way to help them. I wanted to provide hope where there was none and bring a smile back to some of my favorite patients.
Recently, I got to do just that with a 92-year-old gentleman who complained of poor balance and was falling 2-3 times per week. Balance wasn’t his only issue unfortunately as he had some muscle weakness causing a drop foot deformity. Being 92, he didn’t want to walk around with a brace. He was frustrated that he didn’t feel like he had a good sense of balance and falling was something that happened too regularly.
I performed a simple balance test and could pull him over quite easily. Then, I performed a balance test using the Cluffy Wedge underneath his big toes and could not pull him over! Even though I’ve seen it time and time again, the look on my patient’s face, that look of disbelief, never gets old. He could not believe that something so small and simple could have such a profound effect on his balance.
I asked him to walk faster and roll over the toe and sure enough, his balance improved. While he still walked with the drop foot, he was able to walk better, felt a better sense of balance but best of all, he walked out with a renewed sense of hope when he left my office. This is why I do what I do. What’s even better is that in some cases, I’ve seen my patients get rid of their cane! Could there by anything more satisfying?
By Dr. Jim Clough, Founder and Inventor of the Cluffy Wedge