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Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls threaten seniors’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based falls prevention programs, and community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be substantially reduced.
At ActiveCare Physical Therapy our Physical therapists work to prevent injuries by identifying individuals who are at risk for falls. A comprehensive physical therapy fall evaluation is performed that includes: a thorough history, muscle strength evaluation, balance assessment, functional mobility assessment and gait training. Once the impairments are identified, our physical therapy team works with the patient to develop a treatment plan that will help to minimize or prevent future falls. The treatments consist of balance training, endurance/strength training, and education on how falls can be prevented. Ultimately, we can transition your program into the home environment or you can continue to improve by joining our senior fitness program for long-term benefits.
Gait training is a type of physical therapy that helps people improve their ability to stand and walk. One goal of gait training is preventing falls. Gait training may be recommended after an illness or injury, to help a patient regain independence in walking, even if an adaptive device is needed. Gait training helps strengthen muscles and joints, improves balance, improves posture, develops muscle memory, builds endurance, and retrains the legs for repetitive motion.
The secondary benefit of gait training is a reduction of other illness, such as heart disease and osteoporosis, through physical activity and movement. People who choose gait training may become healthier overall than people who choose immobility.
Gait training is usually started as soon as possible after an injury or a health complication. However, it can also be done preventatively. There are several gait therapy techniques, but a few common trainings. Many people undergoing gait training will walk on a treadmill and do strength training. Other task-specific trainings include stepping over objects, lifting the leg, sitting, and standing. People with specific mobility-affecting issues will get special therapies or exercises.