Do you ever feel unsteady on your feet? Have you fallen before or afraid to fall again? You are not alone! Falls are not uncommon among older adults. Each year, about 3 million people have treated for fall-related injuries who end up in the emergency room This research does not account for those who fall and do not get injured or falls that are not reported.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in every 5 falls have resulted in an injury. Often times, when someone falls they become fearful that they will fall again — this often leads to increased sedentary behavior and decreased strength which increases the likelihood of falling again.
There are several risk factors associated with an increased likelihood of falling:
- Leg weakness
- Difficulty with walking and balance
- Vision problems
- Use of certain medications, especially those that cause drowsiness or dizziness
- Sedentary behavior
- Foot pain/problems
- Environmental hazards (poor lighting, uneven surfaces, slippery floors)
The good news is, there are several ways you can decrease your risk of falling.
- Exercise! Building leg strength and improving balance reactions can help decrease your risk of falling.
- Talk to your doctor. Ask for a review of your medications, especially those that make you dizzy or drowsy.
- Get your eyes checked annually. Remember to keep your eyeglass prescription up to date.
- Make an appointment with a physical therapist to assess your risk of falling and provide multifactorial interventions to decrease your risk of falls!