A Simple Gait-Stabilizing Device May Reduce Falls in the Elderly [read article here]
A recent medical study confirms Yaktrax keep the elderly safer on ice and snow.
Read the complete article in PDF here.
I tried one set of these and didn’t find them that comforting–I felt like my foot was rolling on the springs, especially on inside floors. However, I have known others who like them. Maybe they should be removed inside, no?
The PPS (post-polio syndrome] may also find them useful.
My preference is for 1/4 inch flat sheet metal screws (slotted) that I insert into the soles of my boots. However, if your neighborhood has snow grates (see photo on this bloggie), the screws can sometime get caught and may trip someone [usually, the screws just pull out].
News Author: Laurie Barclay, MD, CME Author: Hien T. Nghiem, MD
July 14, 2005 — The Yaktrax Walker ([YW]; YakTrax, Port Orchard, Washington), a simple gait-stabilizing device, may reduce outdoor falls during winter in the elderly, according to the results of a prospective, randomized study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
“Falls may occur more frequently in the winter in northern latitudes because of more hazardous environmental conditions and suboptimal vitamin D status,” writes Fergus Eoin McKiernan, MD, from the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin. “Improving gait stability in these conditions should result in fewer falls and injuries.”
In this study, 109 northern U.S. community-dwelling, fall-prone persons age 65 years and older were randomized to wear either YW or their usual winter footwear outdoors during the winter of 2003–2004. Mean age was 74.2 years.
Study participants completed fall diaries, documenting 93 indoor slips, 13 indoor falls, 714 outdoor slips, and 62 outdoor falls during 10,724 diary days. Although risk of indoor slips or falls was comparable in both groups, the relative risk (RR) of outdoor slips for YW was 0.50 ()
Of 19 outdoor falls, 12 occurred when subjects assigned to wear the YW were not doing so. No serious injury or fracture occurred in either group. The number needed to treat for the YW to prevent one nonserious injurious fall in one winter was six. Given that the cost of one pair of YW is less than $20, the author suggests potentially large cost savings for those who wear the YW.
Study limitations include likely underestimation of the reported magnitude of outdoor fall reduction with YW and possible lack of generalizability to elderly patients who were more or less fall-prone than those in this study.
“YW may reduce the risk of outdoor winter falls, and of nonserious injurious falls, in older community-dwelling people with a history of previous falls,” the author writes. “Targeting the most appropriate fall-reduction intervention to the right population should yield the best rate of therapeutic return. Under appropriate environmental conditions, YW appears to be an inexpensive means of preventing falls and nonserious injurious falls in fall-prone, ambulatory, community-dwelling older people during the winter.”
The Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation Physician Research Fund funded this study. Yaktrax provided the YW devices free of charge and provided Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation with $20 per study subject in compensation for study participation. The study subjects received their blinded compensation after study completion.
J Am Ger Soc. 2005;53:943-947