A fall is any unexpected event where you lose your balance that may or may not result with your landing on the ground. When we are young we fall all the time without too much worry. However as we age, the risk of injury and long term medical problems after a fall increase. Risk factors for falls include, increased age, osteoporosis, depression, cognitive impairment, visual problems, and a history of neurological and/or cardiovascular disorders. We have less control over the risk factors listed above, but there is still plenty that one can do. Read below for ways you can improve your balance or if you feel you need guidance, that a PT can help with!
Calf Raises: Use wall for balance as your lift your heels as high as you can, keeping your knees straight. Goal 30x a day.
- Strengthening: Especially of your hips and ankles, when ever you lose your balance, it should be your legs that help you regain your balance. Here are some exercises that will help to strengthen your legs.
A squat is going to strengthen many muscles in thighs and legs. the key to doing a squat is to replicate how you get in/out of a chair. Goal would be to do 10-30+ a day, increasing repetitions if unweighted.
- Balance Training: Balance is like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it gets, in the same way, no matter how active or sedentary/unbalanced you are there is room for improvement. Have you ever tried standing on 1 leg, if you have trouble doing so, maybe its time to check in with a PT to prevent any further loss of balance. Or if you’re not ready to see a PT, you can improve balance with taking classes like Tai Chi or yoga. Or at home you can work on balancing on 1 leg or standing in tandem (see below). If you don’t know where to start or feel unsafe, call a PT or your doctor.
- Dizziness: The sensation of vertigo or feeling “off/wobbly” can be an inner ear problem and can be treated with vestibular PT, click here for more information.
- Home Modifications: More often than not people fall in their homes because of tripping or poor lighting. There are various ways that you can modify your home if you feel like you may fall. This includes keeping rooms and pathways clear and open, removing throw rugs that you might catch your foot on or may slip. Put items in easy to reach positions so you don’t need to get on counters or unsteady stools. There is a lot of equipment that you can add, such as putting a railing into the steps into your home, adding bathroom handles in the shower or by the toilet.