Every year, falls are common events that bring older adults into emergency rooms for treatment. In fact, in 2012, just over 700,000 older patients were hospitalized in the USA after falling. Falls lead the way as the most common cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. It can be scary when you are at risk, as even a minor stumble could lead to a hip injury, head trauma, laceration, and fractures of the ankle, leg, wrist, arm, pelvis, or spine. One way to fight against falling is to improve your balance, and we have selected some easy steps you can take at home to help you stay upright on your two feet.
The following exercises are simple ones that anyone at any age can do. Done on a regular basis, they will help improve your equilibrium and muscle strength.
- Start with simply standing on one leg. Keep your shoulders relaxed and arms at your side while you pick up one foot. Try to balance for 30 seconds and repeat twice before switching legs. If you have difficulty, place your fingertips on a nearby surface but try to work up to balancing hands-free for 2 minutes.
- After this, challenge yourself by closing your eyes, swinging your arms like you are running, swinging arms with hand weights, or standing on a folded up bath towel. Then try standing on one foot and raising the other leg out to the side; hold the position for a few seconds before lowering. Repeat 10-15 times and then switch feet.
- Another exercise is to choose a straight line in front of you and walk with one foot in front of the other on the line. Keep your arms out to the side if necessary and then try with them down at your sides.
- Last, while standing with feet shoulder width apart and focusing on a spot in front of you, rise up onto your toes and then lower. Repeat 10-15 times and do it slowly, without wiggling from side to side. Hold on to a chair if necessary.
If you need further suggestions to improve your balance or have another foot or ankle problem, contact Richardson Podiatry Associates for an appointment. Dr. Gene Reister can diagnose the root problem and provide treatment that will eliminate pain and improve your confidence. Call our Richardson, TX at (972) 690-5374.
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