FALLS & BALANCE By: Ms. Katie Dunoon (Masters of Physiotherapy)
From 2017-2018, the Australian Institute of health and welfare reported that falls were the cause of 42% of hospitalization injury cases and 40%of deaths. Of those deaths, 56% of deaths were due to females and 44% were for males (Australian Institute of health and welfare, 2021)
Fall-related injuries can have serious consequences such as fractures and head injuries (Peel, 2002). Bruising, cuts, and sprains although are minor can still lead to pain, reduced function, and substantial healthcare costs.
RISK FACTORS FOR FALLS
- Over the age of 65
- On more than 7 medications
- Cognitive Impairments
- Sensory deficits
W H Y I S B A L A N C E T R A I N I N G I M P O R T A N T ?
Balance training works to give strategies to effectively utilises all three balance systems to aid the reduction in falls. Completed in a safe environment balance training is an effective tool to challenge balance. Although balance training seems to be targeted at 65 years and older, improvement in balance has been shown in an athletic or youth population to improve postural control in motor skills (Gebel et al., 2018; Gebel, 2020). Moreover, is also effective in the general population to reduce the incidences of sports-related injuries such as ankle sprains along with improving overall performance. This type of balance training is likely to involve more neuromuscular elements to be task-specific to the individual’s needs.
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