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fall prevention

Prevent Falls and Stay Active with Aging

I wrote in a previous post about the public education campaign launched by the Canadian Chiropractic Association which dealt with falls prevention for the elderly. That information can be found here.

It is well documented that injuries sustained from falls can be a huge factor affecting health into our later years. A recent study in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation demonstrates a simple home stretching routine which can help to improve functional levels.

Previous studies have shown that walking speed declines with age, and that this is an indicator of ones risk for falls and decreasing function. This recent study tested out two simple stretches in order to measure their effect on hip flexibility, and in return their effect on walking speed.

The two stretches were a standard calf stretch with one foot flat on the ground, and a hip flexor stretch supported in a shallow lunge position (see pictures). The stretches were done twice per day, 3 times per side and held for 45 seconds. This program went on for a total of 8 weeks.

When measured against a control group, the stretching group showed a faster walking speed and more hip and ankle flexibility.

It is important to note though that this study was done in a population of healthy adults with an average age of 72. We can’t extend these findings to those adults with health or joint problems. However, it does show some promise for chiropractors and other clinicians to begin to implement a simple home program with their aging patients.

Best Foot Forward

The Canadian Chiropractic Association has recently launched a falls prevention program entitled “Best Foot Forward”. Below is an excerpt from a press released issued by the BC Chiropractic Association:

One in every three Canadians over 65 are just a step away from falling, and that slip, trip or stumble often has serious and costly consequences. Older Canadians are nine times more likely to suffer an injury from a fall leading to hospitalization and even death.

That is why the BC Chiropractic Association is launching Best Foot Forward, a public education program aimed at preventing falls in seniors. The program follows a Public Health Agency of Canada report detailing the debilitating and even deadly consequences of seniors’ falls.

“Best Foot Forward offers practical advice on many aspects of prevention that most older Canadians can do easily,” says Dr. Brian Gleberzon, DC, who acted as a consultant on the national Report on Seniors’ Falls in Canada and who helped develop the program. “Preventing a fall can be as simple as changing your footwear, taking off your reading glasses before walking to the next room or removing slippery scatter mats.”

“The message we want to get across is – don’t let a fall get you down. Slips, trips and stumbles are preventable,” concludes Dr. Gleberzon.

A self-assessment quiz and illustrated prevention tip sheets covering household hazards, health risks, strength and balance, and safety-conscious behaviour can be obtained at no charge from your Comox Valley Chiropractor or downloaded from your Comox Valley Chiropractic website . Prevention presentations to groups can also be arranged by contacting us.