Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Mickle, KJ, Munro, BJ, Lord, SR, Menz, HB and Steele, JR, High plantar pressures and foot pain: Are they contributing to falls in older adults?, Emed Scientific Meeting 2008, Dundee, Scotland, 28-31 July 2008. Original conference information available here


Falls, the leading cause of injuries in older adults, typically occur during ambulation. As such, gait and balance abnormalities are frequently cited as falls risk factors. During normal gait, the foot is the only source of direct contact with the ground and, therefore, it plays a substantial role in maintaining stability and balance. Foot pain has been found to impair balance and gait in women (Leveille, 1998), and has been shown to be falls risk factor in institutionalised elders (Menz, 2006), however it unknown whether foot pain is a risk factor for falling in community-dwelling older adults. As foot pain is a common complaint in older adults, it is important to determine whether foot pain is a falls risk factor. Despite providing detailed information about the function of the foot during gait, dynamic plantar pressures have not been investigated as a falls risk factor. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether foot pain and/or plantar pressures are associated with falls in the elderly.