What are some common risk factors for falls?

Risk Factors for Falls

There’s an old saying that you have to pick yourself up after a fall and keep going. But what if you could simply avoid falling in the first place? Understanding common risk factors for falls can help you avoid many falls. 

Falling down is something that happens to people all the time, and it can lead to some serious injuries, especially if you’re older. One medical study reports that more than 800,000 Americans are hospitalized for fall injuries annually. That doesn’t include the thousands more who develop minor fall injuries. Physical therapists can help you learn some of the common risk factors for falls, and they can also offer therapy techniques that can help decrease your risk of falling. 

Three common risk factors for falls

  1. Slippery surfaces — Sidewalks, stairs and parking lots that are covered in ice. Noncarpeted floors that are wet. These are just a few of the slippery surfaces that can cause people to fall. Maintenance and cleaning workers encounter these surfaces more frequently, and this means these workers are more likely to fall because of slippery surfaces. 
  1. Poorly fitting shoes — It may be seen as fashionable to wear shoes that don’t fit you very well. Other people may simply continue wearing shoes long after they should be replaced. In both cases, the poor fit of your shoes can increase your risk of falling and injuring yourself. 
  1. Vestibular conditions — The vestibular system includes the inner ear and parts of your brain. Problems with this system can lead to issues like dizziness, unsteadiness and vertigo. In turn, these symptoms can increase your chances of falling down. A few of the vestibular issues that can increase your fall risk include: 

How can physical therapists help you avoid these risk factors for falls?

Avoiding these and other risk factors for falls is one way a physical therapist can help you. A few of the techniques that your physical therapist can use to reduce your fall risk are: 

  • Balance training designed to strengthen muscles that help you balance and improve flexibility in your joints. 
  • Shoe recommendations intended to help improve your stability when you walk or run. 
  • Gait analysis that focuses on revealing problems with how your legs move when you walk or run. 

SSOR offers care that can help reduce your risk of falling

Are you keen to avoid common risk factors for falls? Our team at Specialists in Sports and Orthopedic Rehabilitation are ready and willing to help you meet this goal. We can do a free screening that can reveal specific risk factors that make you more likely to fall down. Furthermore, our physical therapists can build you a personalized therapy plan designed to improve your balance and reduce your fall risk. We can even use our virtual therapy and at-home care services to help you improve your balance without leaving home.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help reduce your fall risk or to schedule your initial appointment.