East Tennessee Spine & Sport is your go-to provider of
Fall Prevention Services in Oak Ridge, TN.
To better understand the need for a good balance assessment, it only makes sense to address the reasons in which people have a tendency to fall. Risk factors involved in falling include, but are not limited to: general weakness/deconditioning, mobility limitations, neuropathy, as well as different pain factors including back, leg and foot pain. Each decade that passes after the age of 55, incidence of falls rise by 4-7% with the impact of falls becoming more significant as time passes.
It has been shown that if you have fallen once, you have a 67% chance of falling again within a year. When someone falls, they begin to have decreased confidence in their ability to stand, walk and navigate the challenges of daily living. The reduced confidence leads to decreased activity levels, increased weakness, and therefore an increased likelihood of subsequent falls.
The good news is that many of the risk factors mentioned above can be addressed with skilled physical therapy treatment. With a thorough musculoskeletal assessment that can identify strength and mobility impairments, we can identify potential limitations in someone’s ability to correct a loss of balance. Often times an assessment of single leg balance, Berg Balance testing, or Timed Up and Go (TUG) can establish a baseline for improvement and establish an initial risk of falling. Once this baseline is established, physical therapy can address many of the risk factors for falling that have previously been mentioned.
People are likely familiar with physical therapy treatment to address strength deficits with the often mentioned “no pain, no gain” reputation that many people in this profession have adopted. What is not mentioned, is that research strongly suggests that muscles don’t function properly when the joints or the soft tissue itself is painful. These limitations must be addressed prior to the initiation of a balance/gait training program. If they are not, then the program is destined for failure from the beginning.
Once these mobility and pain factors have been addressed, therapy can proceed with the introduction of an appropriate strengthening program. Many strength programs that are meant to improve balance remain short of truly addressing function. We will often tell patients that “they’re not likely to fall while lying down, so let’s not exercise lying down.”
Neuropathy and Spinal stenosis are included in the same category, not because they are the same, but because the treatment approach would likely be similar. If there are pain symptoms in the legs and feet with standing and walking, or “I can’t feel my feet” then you likely are going to change the way that you move. Often times, we will see a much smaller stride and a wider stance with an attempt to limit the amount of time that you have to balance on one leg versus the other.
Single leg balance exercises on a firm surface or foam surface are typically a good starting point, followed by single leg balance exercises with changes to our center of mass that can include single leg cone taps. There are many different ways to challenge and improve someone’s balance, however it is important to start with the basics and build your exercise program to promote safety and confidence.
I have used East Tennessee Spine and Sport for their MedX program and other matters such as post knee surgery, a shoulder injury, and other senior arthritic matters, since 2005. I am so grateful to have ETSS as a regular part of my health program.Ann Rust MedX Treatment
Spine and Sport's training method has shown steady results and given me the confidence so that I can return to a high level of competition. Their knowledge and expertise of back injury rehabilitation is unrivaled in the Knoxville area.Fred Smith Discectomy at L5-S1
Spine and Sport is the ultimate place for therapy. Every single therapist is highly knowledgeable and more than caring. They brought me back from my ACL tear in five months without post-op pain. Actually, I’m stronger than I was before my injury.Eleni Georgiafandis ACL Injury
Thanks to the folks who work at East Tennessee Spine and Sport, I was able to avoid surgical intervention using their program. Through their knowledgeable staff, I learned how to get well and and how to maintain the level of wellness I achieved in their clinic.Greg Peck Motorcycle Injury
In addition to my personal experience, I’ve referred my wife and several friends to ETSS. They have invariably been pleased with their results. These are good people who know their business. If your problem can be cured by physical therapy, they’ll cure you.Frank Koon Ruptured Disk
Greg DeFilippo, fellow therapists, and employees are the best! Not only are they kind and friendly, but you receive the most comprehensive care in a comfortable atmosphere. In all my experience with therapy, their expertise is unequaled!Sharon Bowles Therapy Treatment