Before I answer this question, I would like to share more of what this person said to me about the problems they were having with their balance: “ I began noticing that in my mid to late 50’s that I didn’t feel as steady on my feet as what I should…I mean, I am an active person! I play golf and tennis and I am used to hiking on pretty uneven terrain --- SO this feeling that I might fall makes no sense to me.. Why is this happening and what can I do to get back to tennis, golf, hiking, and running around with my kids and grandkids without worrying about falling and making a fool of myself, or worse, getting injured?”
The concerns mentioned above are very real for many people as they age, however it does NOT mean that you have to accept them. There are many things that can be done to improve your balance and squash your fear of falling.
Let’s discuss a few of the reasons why people notice a decline in balance and or develop a fear of falling as they age. Surprisingly, there are some very simple reasons why this occurs…. Loss of flexibility in your hips, knees and ankles leads to muscle tightness in these areas which causes your legs, feet and ankles not to respond as quick to changes in terrain you are walking on. Another simple reason for loss of balance and stability as you age is the development of weakness in the muscles in your legs, ankles and feet. This can happen normally as you age, or be the result of an injury. Again, just because your muscles tend to get a bit weaker with age, doesn’t mean you have to accept that – there is plenty you can do to change that.
Seeing a Physical Therapist at Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy is the answer to loss of flexibility and weakness. The Physical Therapist will identify which muscles and joints you have lost flexibility in as well as what muscles are weak. They will then develop an individualized plan for you that involves specific stretches and strengthening exercises as well as exercises to challenge your balance. This alone will improve >95% of balance issues that people have which will help them restore their confidence, stability and balance so that they can return to living life without fear of falling.
There are other factors that contribute to loss of balance and falls as well such as certain medications you take, neuropathy in your feet and legs (which means that you have numbness and or pain in your feet and ankles) which makes it difficult to tell where your foot is hitting the ground. However, even with these issues, Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy can help you learn specific strategies that can help you improve your balance and abolish your fear of falling.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, we can help you in one of the following ways:
Call 717-245-0400 to schedule a Free Phone Consultation with one of our Low Back experts if you prefer to chat on the phone vs. face to face so we can listen to the issues you are having and tell you the next best step.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would rather connect that way first to ask me some questions and chat with me about your back issues so I can make recommendations about what to do next.
We specialize in helping people get back to living life. Steve Miller is Owner of Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy, his column will appear bi-weekly in the Thrive section of the Sentinel and Cumberlink (on-line).