Falls and Balance
Physical therapy to maximise your safety
What do people fall?
Your ability to keep your balance is complex. People can fall if there is a problem with their balance system, or if there is a problem with the environment, for example, they trip over something.
There are three important factors that help you keep your balance:
- Your vision or ability to see
- The balance or vestibular system in your inner ear
- Your somatosensory system (knowing where your body is in space)
Risk Factors for Falling
Some factors increase your risk of falling. These are described as “modifiable” risk factors. That means you might be able to do something about them to help decrease your risk of falls. These include:
Problems with your vision
Problems with your walking pattern
Not able to walk very far
Poor reaction times
Use of multiple medications
The impact of falls
The most common reason people go to a hospital in Australia is for an injury resulting from a fall. Over half of these injuries include a broken bone. In 2018-2019, 231,000 people went to hospital because of a fall, with 5,300 resulting in fatalities.
Nearly 1/3 of older Australians have fallen in the past 12 months, with falls being more common in women. People over the age of 65 are more likely to be hospitalised or die due to a fall compared to younger people.
How we can help
The first thing we’ll do is ask you questions about your history of falls and the impact this has on you. We’ll then undertake some physical tests to find out what is causing you to fall. Following this, we’ll make recommendations, devise an exercise program, and work alongside you to maximise your balance and minimise your risk of falling. This may include referrals to trusted health professionals such as an Occupational Therapist or liaising with your doctor (with your permission).
Physiotherapy will be tailored to your needs and based on what we find in our comprehensive assessment. Your physiotherapy may include exercises to help improve your muscle strength and balance. We may also practise tasks that you are having trouble with, and/or work on your gait to help improve how you walk. We’ll also recommend and oversee any trial of walking aids such as walkers or foot splints.