Preventing Falls through Physical Therapy Care

The numbers aren’t good. According to the CDC,1 in every 3 adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States. Not only does the individual’s eyesight go, but balance along with it. As your vision declines it is common place to have increased likelihood or balance problems that can lead to falls. Fear not. Physical therapy may not improve vision, but it does improve the ability to manage and reduce the likelihood of balance problems that lead to falls. More importantly by preventing falls it reduces the likelihood of the resulting traumatic effects of the fall such as; head injuries, arm, hand, and hip fracture.

Fall prevention conditioning programs are designed to increase independence with functional activities, functional mobility, and safety awareness while decreasing fall risk. Research has shown that a successful fall prevention program must be multi-dimensional and address all underlying factors in addition to strength and balance.

Physical therapists use valid and reliable assessments to determine all the factors affecting each individual’s fall risk. Therapy focuses on reducing the factors and decreasing fall risk. This is consistent with the protocols recommended by: The American Geriatrics Society and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ Panel on Fall Prevention Guidelines.

Common warning signs for falling are:

  • Feeling pain or stiffness when you walk
  • Needing to walk slower or to hold on to things for support
  • Feeling dizzy or unsteady when you get up from your bed or chair
  • Feeling weak in your legs
  • You take more than one medication
  • You have problems seeing
  • You have had at least one fall in the past year

Risks to consider when fall proofing your home

LIGHTING

  • Is the lighting adequate, especially at night?
  • Are stairwells well lit?
  • Is there a working flashlight in case of power failure?

SURFACES

  • Are there any wet surfaces that are frequently wet?
  • Are steps and stairs in good repair and the appropriate rise?
  • Do steps have handrails in good repair?

TRIP HAZARDS

  • Are there throw rugs in the walking path?
  • Does the family pet often sleep in walking paths?
  • Is the carpet in good repair without tears or fraying?
  • Are there extension cords or raised door sills in the walking paths?
  • Is there a clear path from the bed to the bathroom?
  • Can lights easily be turned on even before entering a dark room?
  • Physical Therapy and fall prevention

If pain is limiting you from doing the activities you enjoy, give Mishock Physical Therapy a call for a Free Phone Consultation at (610)327-2600. Also, visit our website to read more physical therapy related articles, learn more about our treatment philosophy, our physical therapy staff, and our 6 convenient locations in Gilbertsville, Skippack, Barto, Phoenixville, Limerick, and Stow at www.mishock.wpengine.com. Our mission is to exceed the expectations of our patients by providing excellence in care and service. We are here to serve you!

* Phone Consultations are not applicable to patients in federal or state funded programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
* Screenings are consultations and do not involve a physical therapy evaluation or treatment.

Dr. Mishock is one of only a few clinicians with doctorate level degrees in both physical therapy and chiropractic in the state of Pennsylvania.