Every year, more than one out of four adults 65 years or older have a fall, with three million treated in emergency departments for injuries. Therapeutic exercises for balance improvement and fall prevention could help reduce the risk of falls and serious injury.
The risk of falls may increase as a result of:
Falls may occur when:
Common symptoms of balance problems include:
Certain exercises can help reduce the risk of falls by:
It’s important to exercise at least 2.5 hours per week. Individuals should start slowly and gradually increase intensity by adding light weights to the ankles. This will help increase the effectiveness of each exercise.
A few potential exercises that could help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls:
To determine if a patient needs physical therapy, a physician will ask the following questions:
Patients who answer “yes” to any of these questions are considered to be at high risk for falls. The patient will then undergo a detailed interview examining their current medications, fall history, and physical ability pertaining to balance, strength, mobility, and other factors. This assessment will help the physical therapist gain a better understanding of the patient’s risk for a fall and the potential causes that need to be addressed.
The physical therapist will then create a personalized fall prevention program that takes into account the patient’s unique impairments and abilities.
Physical therapy will involve a personalized routine designed to strengthen muscles and improve reaction times. The physical therapist will also provide specific instructions on how to reduce, eliminate, or avoid hazards in and outside of the home.
It’s important for patients to exercise on a regular basis. This will help to build strength and improve balance, flexibility, and proprioception. The result will be improved balance and reduced risk of falls.
If you are at risk of falls, give OC Physical Therapy a call to schedule your first appointment.