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Balance Improvement and Fall Prevention


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.

Who is at Risk for Falls?

The risk of falls may increase as a result of:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty with balance due to vision changes, vestibular problems, and altered sensation in the feet
  • Taking five or more medications
  • Hazardous conditions, such as dim lighting and trip hazards
  • Positional low blood pressure (condition in which blood pressure drops upon standing)
  • Problems with feet and footwear

Falls may occur when:

  • In the bathroom, sitting or standing up from the toilet or shower
  • Getting up quickly at night and tripping

Signs of Poor Balance

Common symptoms of balance problems include:

  • Sense of motion or spinning (vertigo)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling faint
  • Unsteadiness
  • Falling or feeling like you are about to fall
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes, such as blurred vision
  • Confusion

The Benefits of Therapeutic Exercises

Certain exercises can help reduce the risk of falls by:

  • Improving muscle strength and flexibility
  • Improving balance
  • Increasing physical endurance

Exercises to Prevent Falls

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:

  • Practicing balancing on one foot
  • Sitting down and standing up without using the hands
  • Toe stands
  • Knee curls
  • Leg extensions
  • Back of the leg stretches
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Walking
  • Tai Chi

Who Needs Physical Therapy?

To determine if a patient needs physical therapy, a physician will ask the following questions:

  1. Have you had two or more falls in the past 12 months?
  2. Have you had a recent fall?
  3. Do you have difficulty with balance or walking?

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.

What to Expect From Physical Therapy

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.


At OC Physical Therapy, patients receive a customized treatment plan to help them fully recover from injuries and overuse. Our dedicated team of physical therapists seeks to provide you with better overall health through quality care.
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  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed

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    Address: 18102 Sky Park Circle South,
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    Irvine, CA 92614

    Address: 26921 Crown Valley Pkwy
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    Mission Viejo, CA 92691

    Address: 29300 Portola Parkway #A,
    Lake Forest, CA 92630

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