Just ‘being OLD’ is not an acceptable justification to fall. Fall-related injuries can cause bone fractures, hospitalisation, significant disability, loss of confidence and independence, and even premature death.
Causes of Falls:
Falls have a multi-factorial aetiology, with over 200 risk factors identified.
Usually, people with mobility problems due to ill health, accident or injury, become less active, and this further reduces their ability to function normally. As a result motor skills, balance and co-ordination decrease, standing and walking patterns alter, making the individual susceptible to falling.
Falls risk factors have been categorised into intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic risk factors are traits of an individual that increase their risk of falling and can be related to neurosensory impairment, certain drugs, or the presence of diseases associated with an increased risk of falling (e.g. Degeneration Weakness, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, osteoarthritis or diabetes). If there are any concerns that the balance problem, poor conditioning or reduced mobility is related to a more serious medical condition, this should first be cleared with a medical doctor.
Extrinsic causes are social and physical factors that relate to an external environment, unrelated to disease or drug use; home hazards, inappropriate shoes.
How to Prevent Falls?
Research into prevention of falls show that many of the interventions provided through physiotherapy can modify the risk and help to prevent future falls.
Exercise is one of the most effective methods amongst different multifactorial interventions, as balance impairment and muscle weakness are the most prevalent modifiable risk factors for falls.
Regular exercise has proven to be extremely effective in reducing falls. It helps to improve strength, balance, functional mobility, and lower the chances of falling in older adults. This ranges from simple activities such as walking and swimming, to tailored exercise programmes. Exercise should be progressive challenging and customised to individual by physiotherapist to maximise its benefits in reducing falls.
Physiotherapy Goals for ‘Fallers’ /’Risk- Fallers’
- Prevention of further falls or near falls and ensuring their living environment is as safe as possible
- Improving on mobility, standing and walking balance, strength, coordination, functional capabilities
- Restoration of confidence and self-esteem to improve their quality of life
Our Fall Prevention Program:
Our falls prevention program is suitable for anyone with compromised balance and /or strength, even the fitter older person.
1) Falls Risk Assessment: Identify risks and cause(s) of falls and understand needs of individual’s Home and Lifestyle, hazards identifications
2) Physical examination which assess gait, balance, joint range of movement, flexibility and muscle strength.
3) Education to patient and family, home and lifestyle modifications
4) Customized Exercise Program: Strength and Conditioning, Flexibility and Balance Retraining
It is never too late to start exercising and reduce fall risks, if you or a member of your family are concerned with your safety and balance, we would love the opportunity to assist you.