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President Joe Biden has been undergoing physical therapy and has made other changes to improve his mobility and reduce his tendency to fall, according to a report on Tuesday.
Axios noted that in addition to the therapy, Biden has been wearing tennis shoes instead of dress shows for months and has been boarding Air Force One using a shorter set of stairs to avoid the embarrassing falls he is known for.
“Biden’s team is said to be determined to protect the 80-year-old president from taking yet another spill in public, which could hurt his electability after a recent poll showed that three-quarters of Americans consider him too old to serve a second term in office,” the outlet noted further.
Biden has been seeing physical therapist Drew Contreras since November 2021 to do exercises aimed at improving his balance. He’s been doing them most mornings on the advice of his personal physician, who described them as “proprioceptive maintenance maneuvers” in the president’s health summary released in February, the outlet noted further.
The New York Post noted further:
The commander-in-chief’s balance issues — likely related to what his doctor diagnosed as arthritis in his spine and foot — have been thrown into sharp relief after several alarming stumbles.
Biden tripped over a sandbag and fell after delivering the commencement speech at the US Air Force Academy in June.
Since that incident, Biden has been more frequently sporting athletic footwear, as opposed to more slippery dress shoes. The president also has taken to using a shorter flight of stairs on Air Force One, after several awkward stumbling mishaps on his way to the higher flight deck.
Biden tripped three times and then fell to his knees in March 2021 while attempting to climb the longer staircase to Air Force One. It happened again in February of this year as Biden lost his footing while ascending the stairway as he was leaving Poland.
“But even the shorter, 14-step staircase has proven to be a challenge for Biden, who was seen stumbling and bracing himself before flying out of Helsinki, Finland, in July,” The Post added.
In July, POLITICO noted, in a story headlined, “Biden downplays age talk — but subtle accommodations are being made,” the bizarre appearance of Biden, who had stepped off Marine One wearing tennis shoes without socks.
“The informality of the president’s wardrobe distracted from something else — something reporters who travel with him have been noticing for some time,” the outlet reported. “Biden boarded using the shorter set of retractable stairs that fold into the belly of the plane. The routine began a few months ago, the president increasingly avoiding the grander, more traditional doorway near the front of the aircraft on the main passenger level, higher above the tarmac.”
The outlet noted further:
The new routine looks to be another subtle accommodation to the president’s age. It is hiding in plain sight, although the White House won’t concede that interpretation. Three weeks ago when the president traveled to New York, again using the lower stairs to board, Bloomberg’s Justin Sink pressed press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about it during her in-flight gaggle.
Was Biden having “mobility problems,” Sink asked, or was it “to address — you know, he’s had a couple incidents falling on the stairs getting up and you guys just decided that it would be better for him?”
“I don’t have any decision process to walk through,” Jean-Pierre claimed. “I’m sure there’s a protocol that’s used for the — for Air Force One. I just don’t have one.”
Historically, presidents have opted to use the lower stairs in situations where heavy rain or wind renders the taller steps impractical for use. In rare instances — like the notable diplomatic incident when President Barack Obama arrived in China in 2016 — when a portable set of stairs is unavailable to be placed next to the main door, the lower stairs have been employed, POLITICO noted.