— Aetrex Sponsored Post —
A recent study found that Aetrex Premium Memory Foam Orthotics, both with and without metatarsal support, are clinically proven to reduce common sources of pain (i.e., back, foot, hip, knee and ankle pain) and the fear of falling for seniors. While both orthotic types reduced pain and fear of falling, researchers concluded that the orthotics with a metatarsal pad perform better because the metatarsal pad and its prominence under the forefoot provide improved awareness of body position to aid balance.
Both foot pain and fear of falling are obstacles to healthy aging. Nearly one in four individuals experience foot pain in midlife, which can reduce physical activity and potentially contribute to poor mental health. Seniors who report a fear of falling more than double their risk of actually falling. In addition to the devastating individual consequences, senior falls also burden healthcare systems. In 2015, researchers estimated that U.S. medical costs for fatal and non-fatal falls totaled $50 billion.
“Many older adults experience foot pain which forces them to become less active and less mobile, increasing muscle weakness. In older adults this weakness causes a decrease in skeletal muscle mass, strength and function,” said Dr. George Ampat, study lead, consultant orthopedic surgeon at Aintree University Hospital, clinical teacher at the Liverpool School of Medicine and medical consultant for Aetrex. “One essential way to prevent foot pain from occurring and to combat existing musculoskeletal pain is to stay active. But to be active, you need to be comfortable on your feet.”
According to the study, older adults can help reduce their pain by wearing Aetrex Premium Memory Foam Orthotics. Over the course of the six-week study, the interventional group wore the Aetrex Premium Memory Foam Orthotic with a metatarsal pad and the control group wore the Aetrex Premium Memory Foam Orthotic without the metatarsal pad. All older adults in the study reported significant pain improvements in their back, hips, knees, ankles and feet using NRS. The interventional group experienced a greater improvement in foot pain and foot function. “This study demonstrates that adding orthotics to your shoes is a simple, non-invasive and cost-effective solution to reduce pain and support healthy aging,” said Ampat.
The study also shows orthotics reduce the fear of falling in seniors. Through contact with the ground, feet provide crucial awareness of where the body is in space, a sense called proprioception that is critical for balance and stability. “As we age, we become frailer, impairing balance and increasing the fear of falling and the risk of falling,” said Ampat. The study shows both the interventional and control groups reported a significant decrease in the fear of falling, with the interventional group reporting greater reductions. “Orthotics with anatomically correct arch support enhance sensory feedback, improving proprioception. The metatarsal pad enhances one’s perception of balance even further by increasing contact with the greatest nerve concentration area in the foot,” said Ampat.
The clinical study, conducted in Liverpool, England in conjunction with The University of Liverpool, involved a randomized controlled trial with data collected from 206 participants aged 60 years or older with self-identified foot pain. At the beginning and end of the study, participants completed three questionnaires— one that rated pain in different parts of the body, one that rated foot pain and foot function and a third that measured fear of falling.
Aetrex Premium Memory Foam Orthotics and Premium Memory Foam Orthotics with Metatarsal Support are available for both men and women, the latter providing extra forefoot metatarsal support to relieve ball-of-foot discomfort.
The full study is published in the Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics Journal. To learn more about Aetrex and this study, visit aetrex.com.