Let’s Prevent Injury: Avoiding Falls this Fall
By Dr. Frank J. Scerbo PT, DPT, MS, CSCS ///
Anyone at any age can take an accidental, unexpected tumble that results in an injury, but as we age, the risk of falling is greater. There are lots of factors that can increase our risk for falls, including:
• History of a previous fall.
• Having a sedentary lifestyle.
• Being in overall poor health.
• Recent hospitalization.
• Advanced age.
• Difficulty with walking or keeping your balance.
• Leg weakness.
• Becoming fatigued easily.
• Limited flexibility.
• Being female.
Your Scerbo physical therapist can help, by assessing risk factors and developing an individualized fall-prevention plan that may include:
Balance training: Your Scerbo physical therapist will design exercises that challenge your ability to keep your balance as well as recover from a loss of balance, including exercises such as single-leg standing, or holding your balance.
Walking and Exercise: Starting a walking program with poor balance can actually increase your risk for falling, so it’s important to have an evaluation by your Scerbo physical therapist before you start.
Strength Training: Your Scerbo physical therapist will design an individualized strengthening program that focuses on specific muscle groups to help improve your standing balance, your balance while walking, and your ability to recover from a loss of balance.
Endurance Training: Aerobic exercise can help improve almost every aspect of your health, especially your endurance. Your Scerbo physical therapist can work with you to plan a safe aerobic program to address your specific needs.
Pain Management: Certain exercises, such as strengthening and aerobic exercises, are appropriate interventions to relieve pain in addition to decreasing fall risk. Physical therapy has been shown to help individuals reduce or eliminate their need for pain medication, including opioids.
Fear Management: Does fear of falling keep you from enjoying physical activity? Your Scerbo physical therapist will work with you to build your confidence and help you get back to activities that you may be avoiding and identify any activities that you should avoid to stay safe.
Education: Your Scerbo physical therapist will take the time to explain how you can best manage your own risks for falling. Topics may include making the home environment safer, choosing appropriate footwear, improving nutrition and sleep, and how to best approach daily tasks.
The physical therapists at Scerbo Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation re trained to help you move with confidence through these crisp and colorful fall days. If you or a loved one experience balance problems, joint weakness or pain that might increase the risk of falling, we urge you to call us for an evaluation at our state-of-the-art Edgewater facility.