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Why do people fall & how can we prevent it?

As you may know, it is ‘National Falls Awareness week’.

Falls are usually caused by an interaction of a number of risk factors. Falls prevention is focused on an increased awareness of these risk factors, plus taking action to mitigate & reduce the risk. We will look at some of these factors in more detail & what you can do to help.

Weakness & poor balance - Our muscles gradually get weaker as we get older, affecting our strength and balance and making it more difficult to undertake daily activities. There is typically a reduction in physical activity & exercise as we get older, but this doesn’t have to be the case, rather we need to adapt things to accommodate changes in our bodies. A variety of medical conditions can affect your strength & balance, like arthritis ( See Post Here ) & Polymyalgia Rheumatica (link to previous blog), plus various neurological conditions (link to previous blog on our neuro service).

Dizziness/light headiness – There are a number of reasons for this, but common causes include side effects from medication, postural hypotension, inner ear problems, dehydration, arrythmia or other heart conditions.

Foot problems – Common things like corns, calluses & bunions, peripheral neuropathy or ill-fitting footwear can all affect balance or ability to weight bear properly which can lead to falls.

Vision/hearing problems - Age-related changes to our depth perception and ability to adjust to changes in lighting, bifocal or varifocal lenses, glaucoma & cataracts can make it difficult to anticipate and spot slip or trip hazards in your home.

So many of these factors can be modified or improved to reduce your falls risk, often in very simple ways. We often can’t completely remove the risk, but can go a long way towards mitigating or reducing it through talking through changes to your home environment or footwear, plus encouraging a review with your GP. Strength training & improving balance can also go a long way towards reducing your falls risk.

As part of this week & our ongoing drive to get people stronger, fitter & healthier, Harbourside is running a free taster balance class on Monday 25th September at 10.30am in our rehabilitation gym. This is run by Maia, our Sports & rehab therapist. It will comprise circuits of various different exercises aimed at challenging your balance in a safe way, strengthening your legs, trunk & upper body, plus improving your confidence.

Call Harbourside Physiotherapy today to discuss your issue with one of our Physiotherapy team to see if Physiotherapy &/or hydrotherapy can help you…

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