Balance is the body’s ability to move or remain in one position without losing control or falling. Gait, or walking, is considered a controlled fall while moving and propelling your body forward. In Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness’s Gait and Balance Program, we strive to help you remain upright and safe. Our thorough physical therapy evaluations will determine if you need strengthening and stretching, an assistive device, vestibular rehabilitation, or orthotics, and what types of balance and proprioception training will help keep you safe.
Young children, older adults, and even athletes can have gait and balance impairments that impact their ability to complete their daily activities and increase their risk for injury. According to the CDC, more than 1.6 million older U.S. adults each year go to emergency departments for fall-related injuries. Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, and loss of independence.
As individuals get older, they may develop more risk factors that can lead to a fall. During the normal aging process, individuals have decreased muscle strength, slowing of reflexes and balance reactions, and can develop a fear of falling. Balance and gait is also impacted by neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke, and complications related to visual disturbances, diabetes, and unstable blood pressure. As we age, we also tend to have more prescription medications to take. According to the National Institutes of Health, people taking 4 or more prescription medications have an increased risk of falling.
The Gait and Balance Program can help our patients reduce their risks for falling. Balance and gait training can be done by performing exercises on level or uneven surfaces. Balance discs, foam pads and rollers, balance boards, and stability balls are tools that may add variety and challenge to balance training programs. Research shows that balance improves with resistance training and stretching programs. In addition to increasing strength and range of motion, our program provides education on how to reduce your risk of falling and how to remove unnecessary obstacles such as throw rugs.
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