Steps to take following a fall…
Steps to take to improve balance after a fall…
Several months back, I wrote about fall prevention and the risk of injury associated with falls. I briefly discussed the appropriate steps to take following a fall and how to prevent additional falls. Today's article is an addendum to my original post, in that it will provide you with the tools you need to safely perform balance training at home. If you are or have ever been a patient of mine, there is a high likelihood that you may have seen these exercises before. Regardless of whether you are a 20-something-year-old former athlete rehabbing a recent ACL repair or you are a 75-year-old with back pain, you will benefit from balance training. It is a preventative measure and it requires core stability. It should be incorporated into every workout plan and home exercise routine. Below are six, safe exercises that can easily be replicated at home.
- Standing Marches: Stand in place and alternate lifting each leg up and down as if you are marching. Begin slowly, performing for approximately 20-30 seconds, while holding on to a steady surface (i.e. the kitchen sink, stable piece of furniture). As the exercise gets easier, increase the number of times you perform the exercise and/or lengthen the duration. Additionally, you may change the surface that you perform the exercise on (i.e. from hardwood to carpet, on a foam pad, in the grass) or let go of the stable surface and attempt to perform the exercise without upper extremity support.
- Standing 3-Way Kicks: While standing on one leg, gentle lift your leg forward (keeping your knee straight), then lift sideways, then lift backwards. Repeat this activity 10-15 times, then switch legs. Begin the exercise by holding onto a stable surface. As the exercise becomes easier, perform without upper extremity support and/or increase the reps.
- Sidestepping: Face the countertop or wall, step sideways keeping your toes pointed forward. Move 10 steps in one direction and then move 10 steps in the opposite direction. As the exercise becomes easier, remove upper extremity support and/or place a resistance band just above your ankles.
- Single Leg Stance: While standing in place, lift one leg off the floor and maintain this position for 30 seconds or as long as possible. Be sure to keep track of your time to ensure you are making progress. For safety, begin with both hands on a stable surface, progress to only using one hand, then to fingertips, then to no upper extremity support. You can make the exercise more challenging by changing the surface (see exercise #1 for examples). Switch legs and repeat.
- Sit to Stand: While sitting in a firm chair, slide your hips forward towards the edge of the chair. Rise from the chair (if possible, without the use of your hands). Then, without the use of your hands, slowly sit. Repeat this movement 10 times. As the exercise becomes easier, try to perform the exercise from a lower, softer surface.
- Tandem Stance or Tandem Walking: While standing in place, carefully step one foot directly in front of the other so that the heel of the front foot is touching the toes of the back foot. Maintain this position for 30 seconds or as long as possible. Switch feet and repeat. As this exercise becomes easier, attempt to perform heel-to-toe walking (imagine you are on a tight rope). As always, as the exercise becomes easier, perform without upper extremity support and/or change the surface.
Information derived from: www.moveforwardpt.com
Pictures derives from: www.hep2go.com