Big toe test can prevent future falls

The big toe test can be used to monitor muscle weakness for better falls-risk assessment.
big toe test can prevent falls

The big toe’s grip strength is linked to strength of muscle groups and ultimately linked to one’s ability to maintain balance.

“More than 300,000 people are hospitalized each year from broken hips, and 95 percent of these fractures are the result of a fall.”

Jesse Slome, director of the American Association of Critical Illness Insurance

HEALTHY HABITS NEWS: Big toe test can prevent falls; July 21, 2020. This one is fun reading. But it also offers a benefit especially valuable for seniors. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. One in four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year.

“Falls are a serious problem especially for seniors,” says Jesse Slome. Slome serves as director for both , director of the American Association for Critical Illness insurance as well as the American Association for Long-Term Care insurance. “While our Healthy Habits News reports primarily focus on health issues prior to age 70, this one is too relevant to overlook.”

Seven million seniors injured by falls

“According to the most recent data older Americans experienced 29 million falls, resulting in 7 million injuries,” Slome shares. “More than 300,000 people are hospitalized each year from broken hips, and 95 percent of these fractures are the result of a fall.” This data comes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Big toe test

The big toe test was explained by researchers at the Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies (CBRT) at Staffordshire University. The process involves pulling a small card from underneath the participant’s foot while asking them to grip with their big toe. Grip force of the big toe was previously found to be strongly linked to the strength of all muscle groups of the foot and ankle. This was linked to one’s ability to maintain balance.

“The paper grip test is a simple, clinically applicable test to detect muscle weakness in the foot,” shares Dr Aoife Healy, Associate Professor of Human Movement Biomechanics. “The current paper builds on our previous work and shows its usefulness in assessing strength and balance in this group of vulnerable patients.” The new enhanced test that replaces the pass/fail outcome with a continuous measurement of the pulling force that is needed to remove the card.

Women should start planning in their 40s

Commenting is the report appearing in Science Daily, Professor Nachi Chockalingam, Director of the Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies said the following. “Falls and fear of falling are a major issue in the management of older adults. Also, falling for the first time sets in motion a cycle of increased fear of falling, reduced activity and loss of strength. This leads to a higher risk for further falls. So, it is important to identify individuals who might fall and preventing the first fall is extremely important.”

The American Association for Critical Illness Insurance advocates for the importance of planning for health-related risks. Learn more and ways to compare critical illness insurance policies on our website. Access the research report published in Gait & Posture, July 16, 2020.

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Valuable resources for those 65 or older: Find local Medicare insurance agents who can compare your Medicare insurance options. See 2020 Medicare insurance prices for U.S. cities. For long-term care insurance quotes visit the American Association for Long-Term Care insurance website.

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