Geriatric Physiotherapy

Can Geriatric Physiotherapy Really Reduce the Risk of Falls?

Geriatric physiotherapy, also known as geriatric physical therapy, focuses on the assessment, treatment, and fall prevention in older adults. Geriatric physiotherapy in Edmonton addresses the unique needs and challenges faced by seniors due to aging, chronic health conditions, and functional decline.

What are the Factors that Contribute to the Risk of Falling in Older Adults?

Physiological Factors:

  • Muscle Weakness: Loss of muscle strength, particularly in the lower extremities, can impair balance and stability, increasing the risk of falls.
  • Balance and Gait Impairments: Age-related changes in balance control and gait patterns can lead to instability and an increased likelihood of falls.
  • Impaired Vision: Visual deficits such as poor depth perception, reduced visual acuity, and peripheral vision impairment can affect spatial awareness and increase the risk of tripping over obstacles.
  • Reduced Proprioception: Changes in proprioception, the body’s ability to sense its position in space, can compromise balance and coordination, contributing to falls.
  • Vestibular Dysfunction: Inner ear problems affecting balance and spatial orientation can increase fall risk.

Medical Factors:

  • Chronic Health Conditions: Conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases can affect mobility, strength, and overall function, increasing the risk of falls.
  • Medication Side Effects: Certain medications, particularly those with sedative or hypotensive effects, can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or orthostatic hypotension, leading to falls.
  • Neurological Disorders: Conditions impacting the nervous system, like peripheral neuropathy or dementia, can impair sensory perception, motor control, and cognition, predisposing individuals to falls.
  • History of Previous Falls: Older adults who have experienced falls in the past are at higher risk of future falls.

Behavioural and Lifestyle Factors:

  • Lack of Physical Activity: Sedentary behaviour and a lack of regular exercise can result in muscle weakness, reduced balance, and diminished functional capacity, increasing fall risk.
  • Inappropriate Footwear: Wearing inappropriate footwear, such as loose-fitting shoes or high heels, can compromise stability and increase the risk of falls.
  • Poor Nutrition: Insufficient consumption of vital nutrients, notably calcium and vitamin D, may compromise bone strength and elevate the likelihood of fractures resulting from falls.
  • Fear of Falling: Anxiety or fear of falling can lead to reduced activity levels and avoidance of certain activities, further exacerbating muscle weakness and functional decline.

Can Geriatric Physiotherapy Really Reduce the Risk of Falls?

Yes, geriatric physiotherapy can effectively reduce the risk of falls in older adults through various interventions aimed at improving balance, strength, mobility, and coordination. Falls pose a substantial worry for the older population due to factors like age-related changes in balance and gait, muscle weakness, chronic health conditions, and environmental hazards. However, targeted physiotherapy interventions have been shown to be effective in fall prevention by addressing these contributing factors.

How Does Geriatric Physiotherapy Help to Reduce the Risk of Falls?

Balance and Gait Training:

Our registered physiotherapist offers programs comprising exercises and activities specifically tailored to enhance balance and gait. These may include:

  • Standing balance exercises to improve stability and proprioception.
  • Dynamic balance exercises to simulate real-life situations and challenge balance control.
  • Gait training enhances walking patterns and reduces the risk of tripping.
  • Coordination exercises to improve motor control and reduce the risk of stumbling.

Strength and Flexibility Exercises: 

Weakness in the lower extremities and core muscles can increase the risk of falls. Geriatric physiotherapy in Edmonton incorporates strength training exercises targeting these muscle groups to improve stability and support during movement. Flexibility exercises can also help maintain the range of motion in the joints, minimizing the risk of stiffness and falls.

Functional Mobility Training: 

Our registered physiotherapists focus on improving functional mobility by addressing specific activities of daily living (ADLs) and mobility challenges faced by older adults. This may involve:

  • Practicing transitions such as sit-to-stand, getting in and out of bed, and stair climbing.
  • Training on proper body mechanics and safe movement strategies to reduce the risk of falls during functional tasks.
  • Using assistive devices like canes, walkers, or grab bars to enhance stability and support when necessary.

Environmental Modifications: 

Our geriatric physiotherapists provide recommendations for home modifications and adaptations to minimize environmental hazards and promote safety. This may include removing tripping hazards, improving lighting, installing grab bars and handrails, and ensuring the accessibility of commonly used areas within the home.

Education and Awareness: 

Our registered physiotherapist, who specializes in geriatric therapy, educates older adults and their caregivers about fall prevention strategies, including:

  • Awareness of fall risk factors and warning signs.
  • Strategies for maintaining safety during daily activities.
  • Proper footwear selection and foot care.
  • Techniques for navigating obstacles and uneven terrain safely.
  • Fall recovery strategies to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a fall.

Empowering Older Adults:

Next Step Physiotherapy in Edmonton plays a vital role in minimizing the risk of falls among older adults by addressing the multifaceted factors contributing to falls. By targeting muscle weakness, balance impairments, environmental hazards, and other risk factors, geriatric physiotherapy in Edmonton empowers older adults to navigate their daily activities safely and confidently. Emphasizing the importance of proactive fall prevention interventions and integrating geriatric physiotherapy into comprehensive healthcare approaches can significantly enhance the safety and health outcomes of older adults.


Schedule a consultation with our registered geriatric physiotherapist to safeguard your mobility and independence!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *