26 Oct Physical Therapy and Falls
We’ve already had conversations with older individuals in the clinic on the topic of falls and safety. While snow, ice and inclement weather can challenge anyone’s sense of balance, falls are especially dangerous for older people. So with colder weather and holidays approaching, we want to ensure the health, safety, and wellness of our patients and patients’ family members.
Fall Facts More than 25% of people 65 years and older fall each year; 20-30% sustain serious injuries. While winter can be especially hazardous, 75% of falls actually occur indoors. Falls may also lead to significant immobility and decreased quality of life. 70% of falls are the result of various risk factors including: decreased strength, decreased balance, medication side effects, vision issues, cognitive issues, and other comorbidities.
How We Help Physical Therapists are movement experts and highly skilled in providing treatment to address risk factors and prevent falls. Your physical therapist will provide a comprehensive evaluation to assess balance, strength, flexibility, and gait. Additional tests may be performed if necessary.
Big Picture Your physical therapist will also discuss and assess environmental factors (hazards in the home such as throw rugs, poor lighting, lack of assistive devices/grab bars). We will then create a specific treatment plan designed to meet the individual’s needs, including recommendations for preventing falls at home. Interventions used in the treatment plan will include: balance training, flexibility exercises, cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and gait training.
We are here to help you safely and strongly navigate through the upcoming winter weather and enjoy your holidays. If you or someone you know may be at risk for falling, please contact us!
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4. Tricco, A, et al. Comparisons of interventions for preventing falls in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2017; 318 (17): 1687-1699.