What is a fall?
There are many definitions of a fall, but all refer to an unintentional landing of a person to a lower level. Falls are one of the major contributors to disability and accidental death at home among the elderly population.
What causes falls?
There are many factors, including but not limited to:
- disease/health problems,
- sedentary lifestyle,
- environmental factors,
- alcohol issues.
What are the major health issues that contribute to falls?
- Visual impairment,
- Audio impairment,
- Urinary incontinence,
- Frequent urinary tract infection,
- Frequent chest infection,
- Cardiovascular issues,
- Respiratory issues,
- Muscle weakness,
- Gait issues,
- Reduced balance and mobility,
- Altered coordination,
- Fear of falling,
- Lower body weakness,
- Vitamin D deficiency,
- Foot pain,
- Poor footwear.
What environmental factors contribute to falls?
- Stairs without banisters,
- Loose rugs and carpet,
- Low furniture,
- Poor light,
- Uneven floor,
- Wet and icy conditions.
How does a physiotherapist manage falls?
Falls can never be eradicated, but they can be mitigated. At K7 physiotherapy our physiotherapist performs a holistic assessment, considering health and environmental factors. Following the assessment, our physiotherapist agrees to a goal and works towards it. Most of our physiotherapist input concentrates on:
- provision of appropriate equipment
- improving mobility
- improving balance
- improving coordination
- improving muscle strength
- improving range of motion
- advising on environmental issues
- advising on auditory and vision strategies
- advising on appropriate footwear
- improving functional ability
- improving quality of life
- reducing fear of falling
What can happen after a fall?
Most falls or near misses do not cause injuries, but some do.
- Falls can cause broken bones.
- Hip fracture in the elderly is common.
- Fractures to the wrist, arm, and ankle are common.
- Falls increase the fear of falling and anxiety, thereby contributing to the elderly avoiding activities.
- Falls can reduce the quality of life and encourage a sedentary lifestyle.