Physical therapy has dramatically improved the quality of life for individuals recovering from surgery, auto accidents, arthritis or general pain. Although we often think of physical therapy as a reactive therapy to injury, it can also be used as a proactive means to combat falls.
A recent study has shown that one out of three adults age 65 or older has a history of falling. These older adults commonly use physical therapy as a tool to combat falls. Unfortunately, a predilection for falls doesn’t have a single cause; often, numerous factors come into play. You may be at increased risk for falling if any of the following apply to you:
- leg weakness
- medication side effects
- poor balance
- vision problems
- use of orthopedic devices (e.g., walkers or canes)
- overestimation of ability
- risk taking
Once your personal risk factors are identified, we will begin a program of strength and balance training that will decrease the likelihood of future falls. You will strengthen the muscles in your lower body that play a role in activities such as walking, standing or using the stairs, progressively increasing their ability to bear weight and promote balance.
When you achieve adequate gains in strength and balance, we’ll add an aerobic component that acclimates the body to low-intensity activity over an extended period of time. While walking is the most commonly used therapy, dancing, tai chi and obstacle courses can be alternatives as your risk for falls decreases.
If you are over the age of 65 or feel you are at risk for falling, reach out to us to discuss your options. We can help you prevent future injuries.