Regardless of your age, you probably know someone close to you who has fallen, and it resulted in injury.
Perhaps the person was:
A co-worker who had an unexpected fall during wintry conditions while walking around at work one day.
A child or adolescent who tripped while on the move and ended up with an injury from the fall. A parent or grandparent who fell and sustained an injury.
Falls happen unfortunately – sometimes thankfully with no injuries to show from it, other times with catastrophic consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites the following: 1
One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury
3 million older adults are treated in the ER each year for fall related injury
800,000 people are hospitalized every year because of a fall related injury – most often a hip fracture or head injury
300,000 older adults are hospitalized every year because of a hip fracture
95% of hip fractures are the result of a fall
In 2015, the annual total medical cost related to falls was MORE THAN $50 billion – Medicare/Medicaid accounted for 75% of these costs
These are sobering and concerning statistics. While not every fall is preventable, some of the more catastrophic falls in the adult population are preventable! Often older adults fall because of a loss of balance, resulting in an injury. These falls, particularly in the older adult, can often have severe consequences, and increase morbidity and mortality in older adults.
Fortunately, Physical Therapists are trained to help assess and reduce fall risks and to help try to prevent falls in adults. We can help educate our patients or their families on strategies to help reduce the risk of a fall. We provide individualized programs to a client that address physical factors that may be contributing to their risk to sustain a fall – things like reduced general body strength, difficulty with balance on various surfaces encountered in the home or the community, and strategies that help a person be better able to recover their balance if they encounter a potential fall.
Many times, the older adult falls because of a balance impairment, where they have lost strength that promotes balance control, or simply the various body systems that give us good balance. Sometimes these can be impacted by certain medical conditions like Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2 Diabetes), impaired vision, or sensory problems encountered in the lower legs, or issues in the inner ear that compromise the body’s ability to provide accurate balance sense.
The Physical Therapists at Peak Form are well trained to help address the many issues that may be increasing the risk you or a loved one encounters a fall. I have seen the ill effects of falls in loved ones of my own, and as a Physical Therapist, I want to prevent others from experiencing those unintended, and often preventable consequences.
If you would like to speak with any of our highly skilled Physical Therapists to see how we might be able to help, contact us today at either of our clinics. It only takes one unintended fall to end up as one of those statistics cited according to the CDC, so let us help try to prevent that!
Written by Greg Clayton
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Older Adult Falls. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html Accessed 11 September 2020.