14-1 Falls and risk factors for falls in people with lower limb arthritis
Falls and risk factors for falls in people with lower limb arthritis
Elboim-Gabyzon Michal, Keith Hill, Pazit Levinger
Falls in older people are one of the leading causes for injury and hospitalisation. One third of people aged 65 years and er experience at least one fall each year. Falls can result in injuries, loss of confidence, reduction in physical activity and subsequent decline in quality of life. The prevention of falls and mobility-related disability is an urgent public health goal in Israel and around the globe. Arthritis has been reported as a risk factor for falls. This is due to the pain and neuromuscular impairment, such as muscle weakness and poor balance, associated with the disease.
Falls prevention programs that focus on single or multiple falls risk in older people have been shown to be effective in reducing falls. In particular, exercise interventions have been shown to reduce the risk and rates of falls. Despite considerable growth in the number of falls interventions studies, no studies to date have specifically targeted individuals with arthritis. Given the substantial evidence of the benefit of exercise in reducing pain and improving disease symptoms, people who suffer from arthritis should be encouraged to take part in physical activity for general health as well as specifically to improve balance, strength and reduce falls.
Key words: falls, lower extremity arthritis, physical therapy, exercise.