What is a Fall?
A fall is defined as an event which results in a person accidentally coming to rest on the ground. Falls can occur for a number of reasons and can be fatal, or non-fatal. Falls in the over 65’s is the most common cause of accidental death in the U.S.A. Therefore, it is an extremely important issue to address. However, anyone of any age can be at a risk for falls if they are having balance problems.
How do you tell if someone is a risk for Falls?
In Physical Therapy, a series of tests will be conducted in your evaluation. These will include:
- checking that your eyes are coordinating properly with your brain
- you have good sensation in your feet
- checking your co-ordination
- looking at the strength of your inner ear
- checking the strength of your legs
The above tests all help determine how balanced you are. However a specific test called the Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) looks wholly at fall risk with walking. This is a 10 task test where you balance and stability will be assessed by your therapist. These tests are:
- Looking at your normal walk
- Walking while turning the head left and right
- Walking while looking up and down
- Changing speed from fast to slow
- Stepping over an obstacle
- Walking with your eyes closed
- Walking with one foot in front of the other
- Moving backwards
- Walking up and down stairs
- Turning 180 degrees and stopping
A score of below 24/30 classifies you as a risk for falls. The further below that boundary the higher risk for falls you become.
This test is very effective at identifying fall risk by challenging your balance in a variety of situations. If you have a hard time with any of the above tasks, or are concerned about someone’s balance, schedule an evaluation today.