Does your body feel the same today as it did 5 years ago? 10 years ago? 15 years ago?
Of course not! As we age, our bodies change. Our muscles get weaker, our bones lose mass, and balancing becomes harder.
All of these issues increase the risk of falling and injuring yourself. That’s where physical therapy can help.
In this article, we’ll give you important information on how physical therapy can help with fall prevention. Keep reading to learn more!
Why is Falling so Dangerous?
About three million Americans end up in the emergency room every year because of fall-related injuries. Many times, these injuries require hospital stays and extensive physical therapy.
When an older person falls, the greatest risk is harm to the body. This includes fractured or broken bones. It also means damage to soft tissue causing extensive bruising. And it may even cause joint issues like torn cartilage and ligaments.
Not only is falling physically painful, but it takes an emotional toll too. People who suffer falls lose some of their mobility. This can affect everything from walking to using the restroom.
This loss of mobility leads to a higher risk of depression and other mental health issues. And when you’re restricted to bed, you’re also at a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.
To sum it up, falling is bad news! Fortunately, there are ways to prevent falling.
How PT Helps with Fall Prevention
Physical therapy is a great fall prevention measure because it keeps your body active and strong. A PT program will give you consistent strength training using different tools like weights, stretch bands, and resistance machines.
This type of exercise makes your bones stronger, which can lessen the damage done if you do happen to fall. And it strengthens your muscles too. Your quadriceps, the large muscles on the front of your thighs, carry most of your weight when you walk.
Strengthening this muscle group, in particular, can help you distribute your weight better on your feet. And it can give you more strength to catch yourself when you trip, rather than falling all the way to the floor.
PT is also a great place to work on improving your balance since losing balance is a common cause of many falls. Your therapist can give you a balance assessment to see how well you currently balance. Then they’ll assign exercises targeted specifically at improving balance. These exercises often include strengthening the ankles, knees, and hips.
Lower Your Risk of Falling at Home Too
Regular fall prevention exercises with a physical therapist are essential to keep you upright as you age. Your therapist will also give you exercises to do at home. But there are other things you can do to reduce your risk of falling at home.
Make sure you have good, supportive shoes that fit correctly and don’t slip. Also, make your home a safer place to walk by picking up slippery rugs and removing exposed electrical cords. Declutter the main walking areas so there’s nothing poking out to trip you.
Use bright lighting around your home to make sure you can see where you’re going. And install grab bars near steps and in your bathroom.
With these tips and a great physical therapist, you’re sure to prevent falls in your future. Visit our Outpatient Therapy page to check out our brand new, state-of-the-art physical therapy room!