Biomedical Research

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Foot pressure distribution indicates the osteoporosis and the fall risk of older persons

Falls is one of the most important problems for older persons, which usually causes the elder disability. The indication and prevention of the falls are one of the major concerns in the elder cares. Several risk factors and risk assessment tools including foot pressure for falls were investigated for the hospital inpatients. However, none of them is ready for popularizing in non-patients lived in common communities. Here, we intend to investigate the correlations between the foot pressure characters and the risk of falls in older persons (age ≥ 60 years old). 218 healthy elders without falling history lived in common communities were involved in this study and their pressure distribution of both feet during static standing was measured by Footscan USB2 system. Ultrasonic was used to measure the bone density of calcaneus to evaluate the osteoporosis. We found out that the individuals with osteoporosis showed abnormal local pressure increase compared to non-osteoporosis individuals. The falling occurrence was followed during the two years after the measurements. We found out that the individuals with abnormal pressure distribution, including significant pressure increase in the area of toes (without hallux), third and fifth metatarse, and the lateral arch (LA), and the asymmetrical pressure distribution between the two feet, showed higher fall risk than other individuals. The individuals with osteoporosis showed higher risk of falls. Our study suggested foot pressure measurement combined with osteoporosis screening as a powerful procedure to evaluation the fall risk in older non-patients lived in common communities.

Author(s): Jun Wang, Xiao Hong Li, Yanhua Zhang, Jialin Han, Lili Xu, Huan Luo, Lina Song, Fangfang Zheng, Nailong Yang