Physical Therapy for Fall Prevention
Although many falls do not result in injuries, one out of 5 falls results in a serious injury that requires medical attention. Such injuries include fractures of the hip, arm, and wrist, and falls are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These injuries can limit a person’s daily activities and independence, but even when a person isn’t hurt during a fall, it’s common to become fearful about falling again, and this can lead to a decrease in a person’s usual activities. We can become weaker when we’re less active, which increases the chance of falling again.
Falls are more likely to occur after illness or injury, including injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Although anyone can experience a fall, older adults are particularly at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one in 3 elders falls each year. Death rates are also increased after a fall.
The Basics of Fall Prevention
With adequate knowledge about fall risks, falls can be prevented. It is important to understand the risk factors for falling and to then develop a plan to reduce these risks.
Risk Factors for Falls
Many situations can contribute to falling, and these are referred to as risk factors. The greater the number of risk factors, the greater the likelihood of falling. The good news is that many of these risk factors can be changed in order to prevent falls, including:
- Household hazards: These items can be removed, such as clutter or throw rugs that can cause someone to trip.
- Not enough calcium and vitamin D in your body can reduce bone density and strength. This increases the risk of osteoporosis, which increases the risk of falls and fractures.
- Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants, and even some over-the-counter medicines can affect your balance.
Create a Plan to Reduce Fall Risks
There are a few simple changes you can make right now to reduce your risk of falling:
- Many trip and fall accidents occur at home. Common concerns for older adults are falling in the bathtub or on stairs. Adding home modifications such as grab bars in the shower or bathtub as well as non-slip surfaces, along with a stable place to sit can help a person feel less at risk for falling while bathing.
- Removing items on stairs and other clutter in your home can make your environment safer. Stairs should have adequate lighting as well as handrails, and contrast between steps also provides greater visibility.
- Uneven or cracked sidewalks can also present challenges to maintaining balance, and community officials should be notified of areas in need of repair.
These changes to the home and neighborhood can reduce safety hazards, helping individuals to safely complete daily activities.
Contact a Medical Professional
Request an evaluation for your risk of falling with your doctor, your physical therapist in Miami, or other health care professional and discuss what you can do to address the risks.
Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist to review your prescription medications as well as over-the-counter medicines for any possible side effects of dizziness or sleepiness, which can increase your fall risk.
Physical Activity for Balance and Mobility
In Miami and across the U.S., fall prevention programs are increasing in popularity. These programs address the need for safe environments, as well as the need to improve balance and strength, which improves coordination. Physical Therapy Now in Miami provides in-office care as well as home exercise programs. This important resource helps members of our community to restore and maintain balance, strength, and coordination.
Are you interested in regaining your balance by way of physical therapy in the Miami area? Call us to set up your first appointment at (800) 481-4582. Let’s do this together!