Ever hear those stories about an elderly person falling and their whole life going downhill? (Oops!)
Ever take a nasty fall yourself and have to deal with the unexpected repercussions?
Fortunately, this entire field is coming into focus by doctors and physical therapists with the hopeful goal of prevention!
Today's post is from physical therapist Greg Taylor, our popular "Friend" and director of Physical Therapy at the Foot Center of New York.
Greg talks to us about this new focus:
"If it hasn't happened to you, I'll bet you know someone who it has happened to, and until we figure out how to control gravity it is going to keep happening."
"The indirect cost of a fall is something that is hard to measure but hits close to home!
When a person is injured from a fall it can start a cascade of events that have an adverse effect on the entire family, and these effects can often be long-term.
Lost time from work, dependence on others, and reduced quality of life are the side-effects of rehabilitation from a fall injury that can add financial and emotional strain to an already stressful event."
"Here is the good news; falling can be prevented!
Research shows that by reducing the risk factors related to falling you can reduce the occurrence and injury associated with falls.
The key is in the early identification of these risk factors and then taking the proper steps to reduce these risks.
Below are three of the recommendations to address factors associated with increased risk of falls - although designed to improve the clinical approach of falls and mobility in older adults - most of these points are relevant to all of us.
Check these out:
Vision check-up - pretty self explanatory, but often overlooked as a possible cause of falls.
Home hazards assessment - loose rugs, wires, furniture placement - these are all easy things to change in order to avoid slips and falls.
Gait analysis - certain characteristics in the way a person walks can be predictors of falls. Decreased trunk rotation, speed, uneven step length and increased knee flexion are some of the most common.
In some cases orthotic management is recommended to help with a patient's mobility and stability issues. Custom fit ankle and foot orthotics have been shown to reduce a person's fall risk."
"In our physical therapy clinic we combine several different screening tests to detect specific areas of vulnerabilities and then plan a treatment program that directly addresses those deficits.
The combination of physical therapy - strengthening vulnerable areas, correcting problems - and podiatric intervention can make a significant difference!"
For more information, please contact:
Gregory P. Taylor, PT, DPT
Director of Physical Therapy @Foot
Center of New York
Center of New York
Adjunct Professor @New York College of Podiatric Medicine