Did you Know…
- 1 in every 4 Americans 65 and older fall each year
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury in older adults
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in the ER each year
- By 2020 the cost of falls by older adults may reach $67.7 billion
Have you fallen in the past year? Are you looking for ways to prevent yourself from falling or falling again?
Falls in older adults are often caused by a variety of factors including weakness, decreased power (ability to react quickly), impaired proprioception (awareness of your bodies position and movements), medications, improper footwear, and loss of vision.
A Physical Therapist can help to improve muscle strength, power, and proprioception through exercises and balance training tasks. During an initial evaluation we can determine which factors are increasing a person’s fall risk and implement exercises to improve those areas into their exercise program.
- Exercises for Lower Body Weakness. This may include sit to stand transfers, squats, heel raises, step-ups, clams and bridges in order to target the large muscle groups in the legs.
- Power Exercises. These may include quick and explosive movements such as standing up from a chair as quickly as possible or doing the leg press machine with focus on speed instead of focusing on the weight.
- Proprioception and Balance Training. This may include activities in standing with feet together, one foot in front of the other, or standing on one leg. It can also include more dynamic exercises such as walking backwards, walking sideways, or walking with head turns, all of which will challenge balance in different ways. In order to see the greatest outcome, the goal is to challenge balance at a moderate to high level, allowing the patient to lose their balance in a safe and controlled environment. To increase the challenge patients may be asked to decrease the use of their arms for support or to reach outside of their center of mass.