The ability to walk easily contributes to the quality of life and life expectancy. However, throughout their lifetime, everyone will experience difficulty moving due to illness, injury or aging. Being less active due to a limited ability to walk could contribute to cardiovascular disease and premature death. The senior population is particularly affected by limited mobility, as elderly people tend to develop a poor gait which results in difficulty walking.
Over 4.2 million Canadians are over the age of 70, and more than 35% of this population is at high risk of suffering a fall. Another one-third will fall annually, leading to 100,000 injuries per year. The resulting economic impact is staggering, representing $5.6 billion annually in fall-related injuries in Canada, alone.
To help patients walk better, one effective strategy used by physical therapists is to encourage them to put their heel down first when taking a step―but once left on their own, it’s difficult for patients to maintain this habit without help.
This is one of the challenges that Nancy Mayo is trying to address through her company PhysioBiometrics, created to develop accessible innovations for patients with movement and posture vulnerabilities and for the clinicians who treat them. Mayo is a Professor at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy in McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
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