Fall Prevention = Fracture Prevention
Falls are the immediate cause of most “wrist”, shoulder and ankle fractures, and of many Hip fractures. Two or more falls in a year indicate a need for more than basic balance and strength training. You need to analyze why you fell. Then work to avoid repetition. Formal Physical Therapy, teaching exercises to do at home, is best.
Major Fall Risk Factors: loose rugs and minor step-ups into a room; the scuffing gait needed for slippers, sandals or clogs; poor vision and bifocals; bending to pick something off the floor without hanging on to support; not using chair arms; slow gait; and not using a cane or walker on uneven surfaces (out-of-doors). If you have any of these, work to eliminate them.
Walking for exercise does NOT reduce falls. Even walking over a mile daily. Balance and strength training DO reduce falls. The simplest to do at home is to stand on one leg. The goal is 30 seconds. Many of us need to hang on to something solid at first and gradually work up to “no hands”. PT will teach additional exercises as you improve.
Lifestyle Integrative Functional Exercises! Look at all daily activites, then modify your lifestyle to avoid Fall Opportunities. Avoiding Falls is just as important as taking osteoporosis medications for Avoiding Fractures.
Take Control Naturally. Avoid Falls. Avoid Fractures.
Jay Ginther, MD