Did you know that April is Falls prevention month? In line with this month and these unprecedented times, our physiotherapist Laura Scott discusses what we can do to reduce our likelihood of falling. This is especially important as most of us are electing to stay inside in self isolation or social distancing. However, it is still crucial to remain as active as possible with sedentary behavior known to greatly increase our risk of falling.
In Australia, nearly one third of people aged over 65 fall once or more each year. Even more concerning is that over half of those aged over 85 will fall at least this year.
We know that falls can be a traumatic experience for individuals and families causing both physical and emotional distress. Aside from a physical injury itself, individuals often experience a loss of confidence and as a result ultimately begin to reduce their activity levels and social participation due to fear of falling again.
Balance itself is dependent upon three inputs; vision, proprioception (being the awareness of where body parts are in space) and our vestibular system (a sensory system located within our ears that provides input to the brain about the position of our head and orientation). Naturally as we age, these components can be impacted.
Evidence suggests that exercise is an effective measure for the prevention of falls. Specific interventions can include:
- Standing with a narrowed base of support i.e. feet closer together, heel-to-toe or alternatively on one leg.
- Standing on a softer surface i.e. a piece of foam or a pillow
- Altering our visual field i.e. turning out head from right to left as we try to maintain our balance
- Standing on one leg and tapping in difference directions
It is critical that when attempting any balance exercise, that we set ourselves up in a safe environment with something to grab a hold of if need be. Often the kitchen bench, bathroom sink or the back of a chair are good. Incorporating exercises into our daily routine doesn’t have to be taxing or strenuous simple habit stack it. For example, whilst waiting for the kettle to boil or even whilst brushing your teeth try standing with a narrowed base of support or on one leg if up for the challenge.
In addition to exercises at home, our clinic has a range of exercise options under the guidance and supervision of our physiotherapists including our strength and balance classes.
If you have experienced a fall in the past 12 months, call our team to book your balance assessment today. Online and onsite physiotherapy appointments are currently available. Call us today or book online.