By Physiotherapist: Derek Martin.

Falls are a common occurrence that can have significant consequences, not only for the individual who experienced the fall but also their support network. It is estimated at least 1/3 of people over 65 years fall once or more every single year. A fall is defined as an unintentional loss of centre of gravity whereby the participant comes to rest on the ground, floor or lower level. Physiotherapist have an important role in the prevention of falls and there is plenty of high-level evidence which suggests that appropriately prescribed interventions can prevent falls.

Risk Factors

There are many factors that increase the risk of falling.

  • People who have already had a previous fall
  • Altered vision
  • Hearing-loss
  • Reduced cardio-respiratory function
  • Slippery or uneven environments
  • Inappropriate footwear
  • Poor body awareness
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Depression
  • Continence
  • Reduced strength
  • Dizziness and Vertigo
  • Diseases (such as Parkinson’s, Diabetes)
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Medications
  •  Fortunately, many of these factors can be addressed by physiotherapy intervention.

Interventions

1. Exercise

There is strong evidence that supports the effectiveness of exercise in the prevention of falls. Multiple high-level evidence reviews encourage exercise programs that have a combination of strength, balance, flexibility and endurance activities. Exercises ideas include:

  • Reaching challenges
  • Stepping different directions
  • Walking practice
  • Sit to stands
  • Heel raises
  • Squat progressions
  • Single leg balance
  • Resistance for upper body and lower body movements

Even amongst the elderly population, exercise should be undertaken for at least 2h per week. To achieve the recommended exercise dosage, group sessions and home-based exercises are appropriate. Additionally, many people choose to include balance throughout the day by standing on 1 leg while brushing their teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil.

2. Whole Person Approach

Since there are many significant contributors to falls risk, a wholistic approach must be taken. A medication review with your GP for example can assist with the risks of falls from polypharmacy. Intervention can include visiting a podiatrist for foot exercises and advice in choosing sturdy footwear. A referral for a home visit by an Occupational Therapist would be helpful for implementing falls prevention strategies such as shower chairs, bathroom railings, and setting up a clutter/trip hazard free home environment.

Recommendation

Most falls are preventable. If you or somebody you know would benefit from falls prevention advice and interventions, then do not hesitate to contact the clinic or book an appointment with any of our physiotherapists.

Who should I book with?

All of our Physiotherapy team are qualified to help you with ongoing falls and reduced balance. Your Physiotherapist will guide you on the best treatment plan.

Call 9756 7424 or alternatively book online today

Cancellation Policy

We have a same day cancellation policy where a $50 fee will be charged for missed or cancelled appointments. Please call 9756 7424 or email info@4lane.com.au to reschedule or cancel Thank you for your understanding.

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Sherrington C, Tiedemann A (2015). Physiotherapy in the prevention of falls in older people. Journal of Physiotherapy 61: 54-60.

Martin JT, Wolf A, Moore JL, Rolenz E, DiNinno A, Reneker JC (2013). The effectiveness of physical therapist-administered group-based exercise on fall prevention: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy 36 (4) 182-193.

Gillespie LD, Robertson MC, Gillespie WJ, Lamb SE, Gate S, Cumming RG (2012). Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community. Cochrane Database Systematic Review. (2012).