Falls Prevention and Physical Therapy: What You Need to Know

Falls Prevention and Physical Therapy: What You Need to Know

One in four adults over age 65 will experience a fall each year. A senior who falls can suffer devastating injury or, in some cases, death. Falls prevention starts with knowing the risk factors, and recovery from fall-related injury is possible with the right physical therapy treatment plan.

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that over 27,000 deaths happen in the older adult population each year due to falls. However, those who survive falls often experience serious injury. A doctor will frequently prescribe physical therapy treatment as a key component in the recovery process.

Fortunately, before any medical treatment is needed, we can identify a few common risk factors for falls. Knowing these can help reduce a senior’s likelihood of experiencing one.  

Falls Prevention Starts with Knowing Risk Factors

Though falling is a serious danger that every adult over 65 should be mindful of, some individuals are more at risk than others. Evidence indicates that you are at an increased risk of experiencing a fall if you:

  1. Are over the age of 80
  2. Have limitations with performing your activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and transferring)
  3. Have a prior history of falls
  4. Have Parkinson’s disease and/or dementia
  5. Have reduced hip, knee, ankle, and grip strength and range of motion
  6. Have impaired vision
  7. Have reduced walking speed and any “abnormalities” of the way you walk
  8. Have impaired dynamic balance
  9. Experience difficulty when arising from a chair
  10. Have depression  
  11. Are taking numerous amount of medications.

If you any of these risk factors may be present in your life, be sure to consult with a doctor. A physical therapist will be able to provide you with insight on falls prevention and can advise you on any initial measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of experiencing a fall at home.

Falls Treatment and Recovery Plans

Experiencing a fall may result in serious injury that requires a physical therapy treatment plan.

At Pro Staff Physical Therapy, we examine each patient individually and develop a unique care plan using treatments and techniques designed to increase mobility, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.  Physical Therapists also work with patients to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness oriented programs for healthier, safer, and more active lifestyles. 

Our treatment plans focus on improving a patient’s post-fall quality of life in the following areas:

  1. Pain level
  2. Posture
  3. Flexibility
  4. Strength
  5. Reaction time
  6. Balance
  7. Ability to transfer
  8. Ability to walk
  9. Understanding falls prevention best practices and risk factors.

I make an analogy to my patients that taking a blood pressure medication will help assist with controlling their blood pressure in the same manner that seeing a Physical Therapist may help with decreasing your risk for falls.  However, many people may not know where to start, and that is where seeing a Physical Therapist at Prostaff Physical Therapy can help.

To learn more about falls prevention and risk factors associated with falling, contact us at any time to request an appointment. No physician referral is required.

This post was authored by Dr. Thomas A. Koc, Jr. – Director of Pro Staff Physical Therapy’s Montclair location. Learn more about his background and expertise. 

References for further reading:

  1. Institute of Medicine (US) Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; Berg RL, Cassells JS, editors. The Second Fifty Years: Promoting Health and Preventing Disability. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1992. 15, Falls in Older Persons: Risk Factors and Prevention.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235613/
  2. http://www.apta.org/PTCareers/RoleofaPT/
Pro Staff Institute, LLC, has a network of outpatient physical rehabilitation centers in New Jersey. Pro Staff was founded in 2010 by Frank Pavlisko and Michael Maffucci. Through Frank’s 25 plus years experience in Physical Therapy and Michael’s experience in Management Services, our goal is to exceed customer expectations by providing the highest quality of service in a fun, family, friendly, and encouraging environment.

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