As we get older, our bodies tend to be more susceptible to certain risks, like falling. In fact, every year about half of Americans ages 65 and older suffer a fall; 10 percent of them are seriously injured. Although uncommon, death can occur after a fall.
Hip-fracture complications include blood clotting, pneumonia and intracranial bleeding. The most common causes of falls are painful arthritis, strokes, vision problems, low blood pressure and nutritional deficiencies that can lead to nerve damage in the feet. In addition, some medications can cause dizziness. Here are a few ways to help lower your risk of falling:
First, test your balance. Practice heel to toe walking to see if you can walk without being off balance and try standing on one leg for at least 30 seconds. Access Sports Medicine’s Director of Sports Medicine Joshua Siegel MD, says you can help determine whether you’re more at risk for falls by taking some simple precautions.
“It has been shown that simple balance training in the older population can significantly reduce falls. Common techniques are taught in physical therapy programs throughout the country have shown to help tremendously. Yoga is another fantastic outlet for balance work,” said Dr. Siegel.
Taking Vitamin D, properly utilizing personal medications, eliminating alcohol, adjusting blood pressure medicine and limiting the use of sedatives can also help reduce the risk of fall.
“One of the primary reasons we see older adults fall is because they get up to use the bathroom at night. Many times they are in unfamiliar surroundings, such as a hotel room or as a guest at a friend’s home. Other times they trip over an obstacle that they could not see because it is dark. Clearing the surrounding area and turning on a light are simple solutions to decrease the risk of a catastrophic fall,” said Dr. Siegel.
At Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics we have a highly trained and certified team of Physical Therapists who are ready to help you get back on your feet, and stay there! The benefits of physical therapy include strengthening muscles, tendons and bones in addition to improving balance, flexibility and endurance.