Posted by & filed under Balance and Safety, Exercise and Health.

With the change in current world events, the immobility rate has been increasing over the recent months as people have been quarantining in their homes. This is causing people to lose strength and balance and is ultimately increasing fall risk. We are providing you with fall risk and prevention education to help you combat this difficult time.

Fall Statistics

  • Each year, more than 1 in 4 older adults aged 65 and older will fall
    • Approximately 300,000 elder Americans (>65 years old) are hospitalized annually due a hip fracture, >95% of those caused by falls
    • Half of these will have another fall in the subsequent year if no prevention measures are taken
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries
  • Hip is the most common location of fracture from a fall due to the specific anatomical location of the hip and surrounding structures
  • Missouri’s rate of injury by falling is 31% higher than the national average

Who is at risk for falls?

  1. Older than 65 years old
  2. Previous history of falls
  3. Hearing or visual impairments
  4. Other comorbidities such as diabetes, neuropathy or Parkinson’s Disease
  5. Limitations with mobility
  6. Recent/sudden decrease in activity

Falls are NOT a normal part of aging. You are at higher risk if you fall into any of these categories above.

Fall Prevention

The good news is…

FALLS CAN BE PREVENTED

  1. Balance and strength training routines determined by a Physical Therapist
    • (click here for more information)
  2. Proper medication and management of comorbidities
    • Monitoring specific comorbidities, by yourself and with your Primary Care Doctor, such as blood sugar and blood pressure levels are likewise crucial to decrease risk of any metabolic changes leading to a fall.
  3. Appropriate vitamin and mineral levels
    • It is also important to talk with your Primary Care Doctor to consider proper vitamin and mineral intake. Vitamin D and Calcium intake are noted to increase bone density and overall bone health.
  1. Safe and clutter free living environments
    • Properly lit rooms and walkways
    • Decreased clutter in walking paths
    • Secured non-skid rugs
    • Install grab rails as necessary
    • Wear shoes or non-skid socks

Physical Therapy & Fall Risk Reduction

It is proven that specific balance training and controlled exercise can help decrease your fall risk and in turn help keep you staying upright and active. Through Physical Therapy services, in person or virtual, specific balance and strengthening plans can be generated for each patient to keep them off of the floor and fracture-free.

Also, it is important that these are individualized to your specific needs and deficits, as well as ensuring your safety and proper technique to maximize your benefits and reduce your risk of falls. There are numerous and seemingly endless balance related exercises than can be prescribed in therapy. However, based on your presentation, clinicians can deem some exercises more appropriate/safe than others.

Static balance activity in physical therapy

Examples of therapy exercises for balance (as deemed safe):

  • Single leg balance with eyes open (static balance activity as pictured to the left)
  • Double leg balance with eyes closed
  • Side stepping over small hurdles
  • Walking heel-to-toe

As most of you who read this may agree, you have gotten out of your normal “workout” or daily movement routines as you have been quarantining in your home due to COVID-19. Immobility can be detrimental to your balance and increases your risk of falls. Now more than ever, it is crucial to be sticking to a routine as to create normalcy in our lives but ultimately keeping us out of urgent cares, ERs and hospitals.

How can we help?

Summit Strength Physical Therapy offers 1-on-1 therapy and virtual visits, over the length of 45 min-1 hour sessions. Our facility is 20,000 square feet that allows us to social distance. We have a variety of equipment for all levels of balance and strength training to help you reach your goals and minimize your risk of falling.

Staying active and healthy during the pandemic is important. The CDC is urging people to stay active as means to help cope with stress and maintain overall health. If you are concerned for your safety and mobility reach out to your physical therapist to help prevent falls and get you back on track.

dynamic balance activity in physical therapy
Dynamic balance activity

Click to contact us for more information

Resources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/index.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793090