ELITE Physical Therapy Lagniappe
Can It Happen to You?
When was the last time you or someone you know fell? And why? Falls are a fact of life, and they can occur during recreation, work, or sport: whether falling out of a deer stand, from a pet getting under your feet, while working in the yard, falling off a ladder, tripping over a loose rug or crack in the sidewalk, or slipping on soggy leaves or slick concrete. Fortunately, the vast majority of falls can be avoided. We see so many people climb on things that aren’t meant to be used as a ladder, such as stools, tables, or chairs. They reach out further than they should and lose their balance. Or, they use a ladder in a way that is not safe and the ladder falls away, which can cause a serious, debilitating injury. We all have times when our balance is challenged. It’s our reactions to those challenges that either protect us or fail us — resulting in a fall. Taking a fall at home can be a life-changing experience that can result in a permanent loss of independence or serious injury. 1 in 5 falls cause serious injury, including head injury or fractures of the spine, hip, ankle, shoulder, or wrist. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among the elderly. The risk of falling increases for those 50 years of age and older. Each year, 1 in 3 people over 65 years old and 1 in 2 over 80 years old fall, and less than half tell their doctor. In a recent CDC study, more than 2.3 million Americans
were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries, leading to $30 billion in medical costs.
determine your risk of falling. There are numerous assessments commonly used at Elite Physical Therapy that can assist in evaluating your fall risk, including the TUG (Timed Up and Go) test, Berg balance Scale, and Tinetti balance and fall risk assessment. Outcomes of these clinical assessments dictate what individualized exercises one of Elite’s physical therapists will prescribe to enhance your strength and balance and reduce your fall risk. Our physical therapists will also assess your posture, strength, and mobility — especially at the ankle and hips, as deficits here correlate to increased fall rates — and can also provide home safety assessments. will decrease your risk of falling. Review your medications with your physician and understand which ones put you at a greater risk of falling. Assess your home environment and make changes. Remove loose rugs and replace them with rubber- backed flat mats, be sure your stair handrails are secure, and have shower/bath and bedside grab bars installed. And, after a fall, it’s important to seek professional help to determine your cause and risk factors and how to prevent a reoccurrence. Call us today at 318-443-3311 so we can help prevent you or your loved one from unnecessary injury or fall! –Bart Jones & Don Cassano Be proactive for yourself or a loved one. Prevention is key, and staying fit and healthy
Other risk factors for falling include:
Foot problems (i.e. neuropathy)
Lower extremity weakness
Being in a new environment
Lower body mass index
Taking benzodiazepines (i.e. Lorazepam, Diazepam, Clonazepam, Midazolam, Temazepam)
Taking four or more prescription medications
Balance is dependent on four systems. These are the visual, sensory (perception of the surface you are stepping on), vestibular (head position in space), and proprioceptive (awareness acuity of body position in space) systems. If one or more of these systems are deficient, it’s important to enhance the others to reduce fall risk. Research supports that clinical assessments provided by a physical therapist can, with high reliability,
Elite PT • (318) 443-3311 • 1www.elitephysicaltherapy.us
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