Patient Perspective

All Can Fall

Falls Are Not Just For Seniors

Falls can happen anywhere, anytime. Falls are common among senior citizens and some even incorrectly consider them a normal part of aging.

But the truth is, anyone at any age can suffer a devastating fall as a result of vestibular system dysfunction.

The vestibular system lives in the inner ear and tells the brain where you are relative to your surroundings. If the vestibular system is damaged due to illness or injury, a person might experience dizziness, imbalance, disorientation, or even spinning vertigo, resulting in a fall.

Whether you’re 16 or 60 years old, if you have a vestibular disorder, take precautions to prevent a fall.

Test Your Balance

Here are two tests to gauge your risk of falling. Physical therapy, exercise, and being mindful can help maintain and improve your balance while decreasing the risk of a fall.

30-Second Sit to Stand Test

Count how many times you can stand up and sit down in a chair without using your hands as much as possible during 30 seconds.

Four Stage Balance Test

Stand in each of four, progressively harder positions for 10 seconds apiece.

  1. Stand with your feet side-by-side.
  2. Place the instep of one foot so it is touching the big toe of the other foot.
  3. Tandem stand: place one foot in front of the other, heel touching toe.
  4. Stand on one foot.
Four Step Balance Test

#AllCanFall Shareable Graphics

Right-click on the following images to download them and post them on social media using #AllCanFall to raise awareness of the risk of falls at any age.

Tips for Balance & Stability

If you have a vestibular disorder, your first instinct may be to dial down the physical activity in your life. After all, there’s less risk of falling if you stay safely seated, right?

Actually, a lifestyle that includes regular physical activity can help you maintain your muscle mass and strength, and keep you flexible and limber, all of which help reduce your risk for injury and fracture.

Don’t let a fear of falling rule your life and leave you sitting on the sidelines. Instead, consider these five simple fall prevention strategies:

Focus on leg and core muscle strength

Do some form of leg and core muscle strengthening every day to make you more stable and secure on your feet. Exercises like side leg lifts, calf raises and wall slides are often good choices. Ask your healthcare provider for a fracture risk assessment and for exercise recommendations that are best for you.

Practice balance exercises

Performing balance exercises (such as the 30-Second Sit to Stand Test and 4 Stage Balance Test, above) can reduce falls, especially if practiced several times a week.

Put your best foot forward

Wear supportive, lightweight shoes that have firm, non-slip soles. (Read more about proper footwear.)

Use walking poles for stability

Walking poles increase upper body strength, provide stability and confidence while walking, and can be used for support during standing exercises, weight bearing activity and core muscle strengthening. Improved balance and attention to good posture are common fall prevention strategies. (Get 10% off on Urban Poling's Activator poles.)

Rework your living and office space for activity

Remove tripping hazards by eliminating clutter, such as loose rugs, storage boxes and magazine racks. Then look for opportunities to sit less and move more. For example, at the office regularly get up from your chair and stretch, take a stroll, stand during phone calls, or accomplish a walking errand. (Learn more about home safety.)