Physical Therapists are experts in the art and science of the evaluation and treatment of human movement and balance dysfunctions. We care for a variety of muscle, joint, and nervous system disorders that can affect your balance.
DON’T IGNORE THE FACTS:
- One of every three persons age 65 and older falls each year.
- Falls are the leading cause of injury and accidental death in those over the age of 85.
- In 2005, 15,800 people 65 and older died from injuries related to unintentional falls.
- About 1.8 million people 65 and older were treated in ERs for injuries sustained from falls (CDC 2008).
RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH FALLS:
- Older Age
- Vision Problems
- Muscle Weakness
- Medications (being on 4 or more)
- A History of Falls
- Medical Conditions (such as diabetes, arthritis, stroke, walking problems, fear of falling)
YOUR PHYSICAL THERAPIST WILL ASSESS:
- Your Fall Risk
- Your Strength
- Your Balance
- Your Medical History
* Cited from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008 www.cdc.gov.
Strategies that may help reduce the risk of a fall include:
- Don’t let clutter accumulate, especially on the floor.
- Use a walking stick, cane, or walker for improved stability.
- Wear supportive, rubber-soled shoes to improve traction, but avoid “sticky” rubber soles.
- Walk on grass when sidewalks are slippery.
- In winter, use kitty litter or salt to address icy sidewalks.
- Be careful on slippery, polished floors, such as marble.
- Avoid walking in stocking feet or slippers.
- Avoid using throw rugs, or make sure they have skid-proof padding or have been tacked to the floor.
- Be sure carpets are wrinkle-free.
- Use a rubber bath mat in the shower.
- Be sure all stairways have handrails and bathrooms have grab bars near the bathtub or shower and toilet.