Balance and Falls Prevention
Not so fun fall facts:
- Each year 1/3 of the people over 65 will fall
- Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.
- 30% of those who fall suffer moderate injuries.
- 20% of all falls cause a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury
- 95% of hip fractures are due to falls
- Falls are the most common cause of TBI
Fortunately, there is much that we can do to help prevent falls. Many conditions have been identified that contribute to falls. These conditions are considered risk factors. Many of these risk factors can be modified or changed to help prevent falls. They include:
- Lower body weakness
- Difficulties with walking or balance
- Vision problems
- Foot pain or poor footwear
- Home hazards:
- Throw rugs
- Clutter about the home
Most people who fall will have a combination of risk factors contributing to their fall. Preventing falls, therefore, requires modification of as many risk factors as possible. Physical therapy can play a crucial role in modifying several of these risk factors. Physical therapists specialize in evaluating and establishing strengthening and stretching programs that can help prevent falls. Physical therapists also can assist in helping patients identifying home hazards, and make simple suggestions regarding home modifications that can vastly assist in preventing falls. Extensive balance and coordination testing is critical to understand what is contributing to falls.
The therapists at Body Rebuilders perform a variety of standardized tests to help identify falls risks. We also use the neurocom balance system and perform an extensive BalanceWear evaluation.