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10-Point Steadiness Check

The following is a quick checklist from toe-to-head of factors that affect your ability to remain steady on your feet. See how you check out:

  1. Sensation is the ability to detect light touch through your feet. Loss of sensation limits the information sent to your brain and, as a result, your brain’s ability to keep you steady on your feet.
  2. Shoes. The wrong shoe can make you more likely to fall. Bad shoes have the following characteristics: open back, too tight, too loose, smooth soles, thick/heavy soles, high heels, or worn/poor repair.
  3. Leg strength. The loss of skeletal muscle is part of the normal aging process and is a key factor in diminished steadiness. The weaker your legs the less steady you will feel.
  4. Balance is the ability to remain steady, e.g., no loss of balance or significant amount of swaying or stepping. Balance is primarily influenced by sensation, eye sight, and inner ear function.
  5. Bladder control helps reduce the urgency felt when needing to use the restroom. In extreme situations, urgent feeling to make to the bathroom on time, lead to carelessness and increased risk of falling.
  6. Heart and circulatory system need to function properly to ensure adequate oxygen supply to the brain. Poor oxygenation can lead to dizziness and black outs.
  7. Medications have been linked to unsteadiness, particularly consuming a high number of medications or taking ones that are suppressing qualities.
  8. Vision includes how clearly you see. This includes both in dim lighting and in response to the glare of the sun. Poor vision adversely affects your ability to feel steady on your feet.
  9. Inner ear function includes the sensors deep in your ears the help your brain make sense of your body posture and position. Abnormal inner ear function can make you feel unsteady at unusual times.
  10. Memory and decision making ability. Forgetfulness can contribute falls. If you stand and walk, but forget you really need your walker, you have just unwittingly increased your risk for falling.