One in four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year.  A new test measuring the big toe’s strength could benefit seniors reports the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

“Falls are a serious problem especially for aging adults,” says Jesse Slome director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  “According to the most recent data older Americans experienced 29 million falls, resulting in 7 million injuries.”

“More than 300,000 people are hospitalized each year from broken hips, and 95 percent of these fractures are the result of a fall,” Slome shares.  “A new test could help people self-diagnose their increased risk for loss of balance and falling.”

According to a report by researchers at the Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies (CBRT) at Staffordshire University, the process involves pulling a small card from underneath the participant’s foot while asking them to grip with their big toe.

“Prior studies have found that the grip force of the big toe is strongly linked to the strength of all muscle groups of the foot and ankle,” Slome shared with leading long-term care insurance agents. “The new big toe strength research builds on earlier work and shows its usefulness in assessing strength and balance in vulnerable patients.”