Physiotherapy Clinic in Ville-Saint-Laurent

Back to School Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again, and despite the extra focus right now on the health and safety of students, it can be easy to overlook the more traditional injuries that kids face. Going back to school means changing lifestyle, and it’s important to prepare young kids and teenagers alike with proper equipment and habits.

Let’s take a look at the major ways you can keep your youngsters safe:

Issue #1: Backpacks

It’s no secret that carrying heavy backpacks can cause back issues – everything from mild discomfort, to headaches, to chronic back pain. Over half of children face these problems at some point. So choosing the appropriate backpack for your child and educating them on how to use it properly is crucial.

When shopping for a backpack, look for:

  • Proportionality. A backpack should be the appropriate size for your child – essentially covering the width of their back and spanning from their shoulders to the tops of their hips.
  • Straps. A good backpack should have two adjustable, wide and padded straps that cushion weight, and that can be tightened to ensure proper weight distribution. Single strap backpacks or backpacks with narrow straps concentrate weight and can interfere with circulation.
  • Additional support. Many good backpacks come with sternum or chest straps to help secure the bag, prevent it from swinging around and alleviate some of the pressure on the back.

When packing and wearing a backpack, it’s important to:

  • Respect weight limits. A child should not carry more than 10% of their body weight in a backpack. Exceeding this can affect posture and cause spinal compression. Planning ahead will help avoid the need to carry a lot on the same day.
  • Pack carefully. Heavier items should be closer to the body and near the bottom of the pack. Empty out the backpack frequently to eliminate unnecessary weight.
  • Wear it tightly. Tightening straps and using all available straps – even on short walks – will help prevent injury. Low and loose puts more stress on the spine and discs. Aim for high and tight.
  • Remember posture. When wearing a backpack, stand tall with shoulders down and head and neck aligned. It’s important not to hunch over to compensate for too heavy a load.

Issue #2: Posture

Sitting in front of a computer all day, or hunched over a desk or books, will wreak havoc with your child’s posture and potentially cause not only back issues, but also hand and wrist problems and eye strain. To minimize risk as much as possible, encourage your kids to:

  • Sit upright, whether at a computer or a desk. Shoulders should be down and pulled back, neck and head aligned and held upright.
  • Place screens at eye level. If possible, use adjustable chairs and/or monitors to achieve this, avoiding laptops on the lap wherever possible.
  • Keep wrists in a neutral position when typing on a keyboard.
  • Take breaks every 30 minutes or so, to rest the eyes, stretch, and take a brief moment to stand and move around.

Issue #3: Activity

Movement fuels healthy bodies, but schools can be very sedentary. Luckily, there are ways to ensure your child gets enough activity, regardless of their preferences:

  • Educate them on the importance of stretching, movement breaks, and frequent vigorous exercise. Lead by example, and if possible investigate team sports or active extracurricular activities to help them get enough exercise. Walking to and from school instead of driving can be an easy way to increase their daily activity.
  • Equip them with proper footwear to prevent injury when running around – whether in the playground or when playing a sport. Good shoes can prevent slips, falls, sprains, strains, and blisters, and support good posture.
  • Encourage safe movement. For example, when picking up their backpack, they should bend their knees and lift with their legs, rather than stooping to pick it up.

It’s impossible to completely avoid all injuries, so if your child is suffering from back pain, headaches, or problems with their wrists, hands, neck, or shoulders, consult with a physician or physiotherapist to get them some relief and prevent these issues from escalating.

Injury Prevention as Gyms Reopen

For most of us it’s been months since we’ve been able to exercise at the gym, and as a result workout routines have fallen by the wayside. As Canada starts reopening its gyms, it’s important to understand how to safely reboot your exercise regime.

Injury Prevention Tips

It’s very easy to injure yourself as you begin working out – even if your body was used to intense exercise prior to the shutdown. Injuries can come in many forms, including:

  • Muscle strains
  • Joint injuries
  • Tendinopathy

At particular risk are the knees and shoulders, and high impact exercise has greater risk than low impact options. Eagerness to get started may mean you want to jump right back on that treadmill, but remember that your body is no longer used to vigorous exercise and has lost some of its elasticity. This is especially true if you have been unable to work out at all during the past few months. To ensure you’re properly taking care of your body as you return to the gym, follow these simple steps:

1. Warm Up and Cool Down

Warming up slowly increases your heart rate, while warming your muscles and joints, and properly prepares your body for exercise. Similarly, cooling down helps your body to recover after a workout, and gently reduces your heart rate in a safe manner.

2. Stretch

Stretch after your workout, as it’ll help increase flexibility and decrease the chances of delayed muscle soreness.

3. Vary Your Exercise

Overuse of one set of muscles makes repetitive strain injuries more likely; so as you return to the gym, remember to vary your routine, and do something different each day. Maybe run one day, then lift weights the next, then swim the next.

4. Quality Over Quantity

It’s likely your form has deteriorated as you have been away from the gym, so pay attention to how your body is positioned as you exercise. This is especially important when lifting weights. Make sure you are prioritizing correct form, over simply completing as many reps as you can. Use a mirror, a friend or a trainer to help you keep an eye on your posture.

5. Get Your Health Provider’s Approval

If you have any health concerns, or if you have been inactive for months, it’s a good idea to get approval from your health provider’s before restarting at the gym. If nothing has changed with your health, they will likely just advise you to go slow, but if anything has changed or if you have been sick, ensure you are safe to workout.

6. Pace Yourself

Lastly, remember to pace yourself. Keeping the same level of fitness with home workouts as you had at the gym is nearly impossible, so it’s likely you won’t be in as good a shape as you were a few months ago. Don’t beat yourself up about this; take rests as you need to, and don’t overdo it. An injury will set you back far more than simply going a little more slowly!

If Injury Occurs

If you do find something hurts after a workout, remember to:

● Ice the affected area

● If needed, Wrap the injured area in a bandage or compression wrap

● Rest it

● Take anti-inflammatory or pain killers if required, but do not take continuously without seeing your doctor

● If pain persists, see your doctor or physio

Staying Safe in Public Spaces

Lastly, it’s worth remembering that returning to the gym won’t be business as usual, for anybody. New measures will be in place at all gyms to ensure everyone’s safety. Follow all of the guidelines your gym lays out, wear face masks wherever possible (and remember that sports face masks are available for those engaged in heavy cardio), and sanitize your hands and equipment thoroughly before and after use. It is possible to stay active and healthy, with just a little extra thought!

Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis

With the start of the summer, we tend to see more people suffering from heel pain. Either because of the use of sandals or the sudden increase of walks, you may be one of the 10% of people who experience plantar fasciitis. But just because it’s a common problem doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it! Let’s take a look at this troublesome ailment, and see how you can alleviate your foot pain.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the flat band of tissue that runs from your heel to your toes (known as the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed. This can happen in both feet, or only one, and exhibits as sharp pain in the centre of the heel. The pain is typically worse first thing in the morning, and after long periods of use. The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot, and problems with it can affect your whole foot health, including your ability to walk comfortably.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

As plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition, there are no specific causes; anything that puts this part of the foot under stress or strain could in theory result in plantar fasciitis. However, there are factors that make development of the problem more likely, such as:

  • Obesity
  • High arches
  • Overly tight calf muscles
  • Repetitive activities that stress the heel, such as running
  • Age – middle aged people are more at risk
  • Poorly fitting footwear

How Do I Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Proper treatment starts with diagnosis. There is no imaging test that will diagnose plantar fasciitis, and if an x-ray or MRI is suggested, it may be because more serious problems (such as a fractured bone) need to be ruled out first. Plantar fasciitis is usually diagnosed via a medical history, discussion of symptoms and physical examination.

Although the issue is relatively simple to recognize, treatment forms can vary, as no single treatment is guaranteed to work for everyone. Most commonly recommended are:

  • Load management of injured foot
  • Anti-inflammatories modalities such as icing application
  • Physiotherapy modalities such as Ultrasounds
  • Proper footwear or supportive orthotics during acute phase
  • Exercises including stretching

Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis

A physiotherapist (or a podiatrist) will be able to both diagnose and suggest treatment options for your plantar fasciitis. Regulating activity that may worsen the problem and engaging in helpful stretches can significantly decrease recovery time. Stretches that may help  include:

  • Foot flexes
  • Ankle circles
  • Stretching calf muscles
  • Stretching hamstrings
  • Towel stretches for the bottom of the foot

Many of the above stretches can be worked into a routine for before you get out of bed in the morning, to warm your foot up before putting pressure on the affected area. As well as the above, you may need to use a night splint to hold your foot in place while you sleep, massage the bottom of your foot to relieve pressure, and perform more specific stretches before  strenuous activity. You may also need to engage in other foot exercises to help strengthen the ligament and prevent the problem from recurring.

You don’t need to suffer in vain; although plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful, it is also eminently treatable. If you have undiagnosed foot pain, talk to your doctor or physiotherapist to understand your options.

Kindergarten Teachers Returning to Work: How to Protect Yourself Against Back Pain

Educators and teachers will be returning to work over the next few weeks and months, as the country’s schools reopen and getting back to teaching. But that’s not all good news for Canada’s teachers – especially those who teach preschool-aged children. Back pain is a serious issue for many kindergarten and nursery staff, and a return to work means a return to vigilance about the risks to back health.

 

Back Pain Risks

 

A recent study found that nearly 40% of educators have taken time off because of back pain. But while all teachers are at risk of back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries, those that teach young children are most at risk, due to the nature of their work.

 

Back pain is most commonly caused by:

  • Bending over desks
  • Sitting in chairs designed for children
  • Sitting on the floor without proper support
  • Lifting and carrying children and/or classroom equipment
  • Using equipment (such as sinks, bathrooms, computers) set up for young children
  • Extended periods of time standing, especially on hard surfaces that cause further damage to the feet and lower legs

 

How to Protect Yourself

 

Some aspects of working with young children are unavoidable, but there are ways to protect yourself and your back as you move through your day. These fall into three broad categories: preparation, equipment, and movement.

 

Proper Preparation

 

  1. Arrange the room to minimize unnecessary lifting. Store heavier items in low cupboards. Place lighter children’s items in areas they can reach and ask them to aid in putting things away.
  2. Avoid heavy lifting and use trolleys or ask for assistance wherever possible.
  3. Place wheels with casters on frequently moved heavy items.
  4. Ensure changing stations are well set up, clutter free, and at a your elbow height.

 

Proper Equipment

 

  1. Ensure you have access to a standard height desk and chair for administrative tasks and extended periods of sitting. If this is an issue because of space or budget, try a mobile laptop desk or an adjustable-height desk, and an adjustable-height chair.
  2. Use support cushions when sitting on the floor.
  3. Use a specially designed low adult chair when sitting at a low table. Do not use a child’s chair.
  4. If low tables are used throughout the day, add furniture raisers so children spend part of their day standing, and so you can sit on a regular chair or stool.
  5. Always make sure your computer is properly positioned, with the screen level with the top of your eyes. Use a book or prop if necessary. Avoid placing your laptop on your lap.
  6. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
  7. A standing desk, high stool, and other non-traditional pieces of furniture can also make a difference, depending on the age of the children you teach and how much you’re on your feet.

 

Proper Movement

 

  1. If you do have to lift a child or classroom equipment, ensure you do so with proper form – bend your knees, keep a straight back, and avoid hunching. If you are unsure if you can lift something, don’t try to!
  2. Stretch frequently, at least every thirty minutes.
  3. Avoid stooping wherever possible, and instead crouch on your hips or sit next to your student.
  4. Avoid twisting and straining your back, or over-extending.

 

Those most at risk for back pain are those who have experienced it in the past – so prevention is the most important way to keep yourself in good health. A little thought about the set-up of your classroom can go a long way towards saving yourself from preventable injury.

 

Staying Healthy While Working From Home

Many people are suddenly facing the need to work from home for the first time, but doing so can be stressful. It’s vitally important to stay healthy during this difficult period, so proper self-care and exercise should be top of your priority list. Here are some easy ways to stay well (and sane!) while stuck at home:

 

Stay Active

 

It may sound counter-intuitive – after all, you’re rooted in one place all day – but there are some simple ways to make sure you still get your steps in:

  • Use your usual commute time to exercise. It doesn’t need to be an intensive cardio workout (although that’s great if you have the ability); some gentle yoga, a walk, strength training with home weights, tai chi – just find a way to use the extra time to warm up your joints and muscles and mentally prepare yourself for the day (or unwind at the end of it).
  • Take regular breaks away from your desk. Between your laptop, your phone, usual household chores and demands of family, it may be tempting to stay sat at your desk while having lunch or a quick coffee. But don’t. Use the opportunity to take an actual break: stand, or walk about the house (or yard, or neighbourhood). The fresh air and change of scenery is of psychological benefit, and the movement has physical benefits.
  • Remember to stretch. Take regular, short breaks every hour to stretch your back, your legs and your neck. Sitting at a desk all day (whether in-office or at home) can cause stiffness and back issues, so ensure you’re regularly changing position and not hunching over.

 

Invest In Proper Equipment

 

A few smart decisions when setting yourself up for remote work can make the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy work environment. Here’s some simple rules to follow:

  • Choose a good chair. You may not have the luxury of the expensive, ergonomic chair you had at work, so look round your home for the best chair for all-day use. It should have a supportive back and align you well in front of your desk. Avoid anything that encourages slouching.
  • If you’re comfortable doing so, ditch the chair completely and set up a standing desk. Research shows that this can reduce your long-term mortality risk and it allows more movement throughout the day.
  • Designate a separate “working” space away from other activities in the house. This prevents distractions but also means you can maintain the optimal set-up for your needs. It also means you can walk away from work at the end of the day, and maintain good boundaries between work and home.
  • Consider investing in an exercise stability ball. It’s great to simply sit on, as it helps with core strength and balance, and provides some relief from your regular chair.

 

Mental Health Is Important Too

 

  • It may be hard to avoid feeling trapped or isolated while working from home, so remember to take mental health breaks as well. This is best done by setting a schedule that clearly separates working time from relaxing time, and sticking to it.
  • Put away your phone! Checking the news or social media constantly will harm both work productivity and your ability to relax. Turn your phone off (or turn off notifications) whenever you are actively doing something else – even if that something else is relaxing.
  • Snacking can be tempting while working from home – after all, you stocked the cupboards – but it can quickly lead to unhealthy eating habits. Plan your meals and any snacks at the start of the day. Get them out of the fridge or set them aside somewhere if you have to; just be sure to ring-fence what you’re planning to eat, and don’t deviate when you get the munchies.

 

Working from home takes some adjustment, so don’t beat yourself up if you struggle initially. Good habits take time to build, but once set can ensure your home and work life both flourish!

 

 

COVID-19

Dear Patients,

 

As part of a collective effort to preserve the health of the population and limit the spread of the virus, the clinic will be open for urgent cases* requiring « physical » care:

 

  • a history of trauma or accident;
  • significant pain or movement limitation;
  • postoperative patients;
  • the presence of neurological signs and symptoms (sciatic pain, numbness, tingling or major muscle weakness)

 

*Please contact us to clarify if this is the case for you.

 

Our goal is to support the health system by offering an effective therapeutic option for these patients while contributing to reduce the congestion in the public system.

 

So if you absolutely must consult us on-site, it is important to declare if you have suspicious symptoms of COVID-19 (fever or dry cough), if you have been in contact with infected people, or at risk of being infected (e.g.: recent trip).

 

Note that we are happy also to offer you a Tele-rehabilitation service. Several appointments have already been made and patient experience is positive.

 

As you know, our approach is based on EXERCISES and EDUCATION. These are easy treatment methods to offer you from a distance.

 

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions at 514 375-5348.

4 ergonomic tips for teleworking without injury

Since COVID-19, a lot of business are choosing to telework to prevent the virus. With a new working environnement, a bad posture in front of a computer all day can be very harmful in the long run. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for our clients to report having difficulty working because they feel that their work environment does not support their recovery.

Pain due to bad working posture can go from neck pain, to tendonitis or capsulitis in the shoulder, back pain or hand numbness. To help you heal or simply to avoid injury, here are four ergonomic tips to help you get your workstation in order.

1. Your seat

First of all, we believe that adjusting your seat is the basis of good posture. Make sure your thighs are parallel to the floor when you sit down and your feet are on the floor. You should not feel uncomfortable pressure under your thighs.

The depth of the seat is a point often forgotten, but very important. In fact, adequate depth of your seat is when it supports the thigh over its entire length without trapping the back of the knee. Check that there is no pressure on the back of the knees when your feet are well supported and your back is leaned into the back of your chair. If you feel discomfort behind your knees, it means your seat is too deep.

As for the back of your chair, it is supposed to help you keep the natural curvature of your back at the lumbar level. In fact, make sure that the height of it is positioned to support the hollow part of the back. It is also suggested to tilt the back of your chair slightly so that the weight of your upper body is partially supported to lighten the work of your back muscles.

As for the armrests, these are not mandatory if your elbows stay as close to the body as possible and your shoulders remain relaxed. However, if your armrests are well adjusted, they can still offer support to your arms and shoulders. Adjust them so that, once supported, your arms are parallel to your body and your shoulders are relaxed. Keep in mind that your armrests should not stop you from getting closer to your work surface.

2. The keyboard

In order to determine if your keyboard is in the right position, first you must make sure that when you are in your working position, your forearms are roughly parallel to the floor and your elbows are close to your body. As mentioned earlier, your shoulders and neck should be relaxed. If you cannot adjust the height of your keyboard, it is necessary to change the height of your chair to respect the aforementioned position of your forearms. Also, your wrists should stay straight; think of them as the extension of your forearms.

3. The screen

First of all, it is important that your screen is placed in front of you and not to the left or right of your field of vision. This could cause you to have eyestrain in addition to neck, shoulder and back pain. The height at which the screen should be varies and depends on your personal comfort. However, we suggest as a benchmark that your eyes be at the same level as the top of the glass part of the screen. Regarding the distance at which the screen should be, we suggest the approximate measure of one arm. On the other hand, the distance can vary according to the one of each individual.

4. Your office supplies

Place the items you use most often near your arms. For example, your phone should be easily accessible when you are sitting in front of your computer. Also, make sure there are no loose objects under your desk that encourage an unnatural posture. Do not hesitate to keep your work environment as organized as possible in order to adapt it to your needs.

We hope that these tips will help make your return to work easier this fall. Do not hesitate to contact us to make an appointment if you have questions!

Why Consult a Physio After Childbirth?

Everyone knows that having a child could be painful, but most assume that once labour is over, the hard work is done. Unfortunately, a significant number of new mothers experience pelvic issues after childbirth. Luckily, seeing a physiotherapist can alleviate complications, and prevent future injuries.

 

What are the risks?

 

Vaginal birth can impair pelvic health, and postpartum pelvic dysfunctions are common. 35% of new mothers experience urinary incontinence, and 20% suffer from severe pelvic floor muscle injury. This is after normal vaginal birth, when all of the body – but especially the abdomen and pelvis – goes through a lot of physical change and stress. Muscles stretch and weaken throughout pregnancy, and can tear or suffer nerve damage during labour. Complications are not limited to vaginal birth though; mothers delivering via caesarian can also suffer from pelvic floor issues, although it is less likely.

 

You are more at risk from postpartum pelvic floor issues if you:

  • Have twins or triplets
  • Have had children before
  • Are an older mother
  • Suffer from obesity
  • Have had pelvic surgery in the past
  • Suffer from constipation or a chronic cough

 

Although pelvic floor issues are common, they are not normal side effects of childbirth, and so symptoms should be investigated and treated. Without proper care, pelvic floor issues can escalate.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

Postpartum pelvic floor issues can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Urinary or bowel incontinence, including small leaks (for example, when sneezing or coughing)
  • Increased urinary frequency or urgency
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pain in general, which can exhibit in the lower belly, tailbone, or in the lower back
  • Pelvic organ prolapse

 

If you experience any of these symptoms later than six weeks after childbirth, or have any other unusual pain or discomfort, consult your doctor.

 

How can a physio help?

 

The simplest and easiest way to treat pelvic floor dysfunction is with the help of a qualified physiotherapist, who can assess the root cause of the problem, and lead you through exercises that help resolve symptoms by strengthening muscles and restoring function. The initial assessment may include an internal exam, which is the best method for determining the condition of the pelvic floor. It may also include some bowel and bladder screening to identify any associated concerns.

 

Pelvic floor exercises are the best way to strengthen and retrain pelvic floor muscles; these can include kegel exercises, as well as some others focussed on core strength and bladder training. A physiotherapist can also educate you on how to safely return to normal exercise.

 

In very severe cases, pelvic surgery may be recommended to repair damaged muscles or to rectify organ prolapse.

 

Physiotherapy isn’t just helpful after childbirth; it can also assist with posture, back pain, breathing techniques and protecting the pelvic floor during pregnancy, which in turn reduces the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction postpartum.

 

Choose the Right Shoes for your Child

Choosing the right shoes for your child isn’t just a matter of fashion; correct footwear is part of a healthy lifestyle, and can make a huge difference in a kid’s posture, safety and comfort. Let’s take a look at the hows and whys of picking out the best shoes for your little ones.

 

Why Do Shoes Matter?

The choices you make for your child now will extend into their adulthood; while 98% of us are born with healthy feet, only 40% of us will still have them by the time we reach 18. Clearly, finding the right footwear can make a big difference.

 

The advantages of proper footwear – both in form and fit – include:

  • Improving posture
  • Protecting joints
  • Supporting and cushioning feet during activity
  • Aiding comfort
  • Preventing avoidable slips, falls and injuries
  • Protecting soles of the feet from hazards

 

Of course there are many options when shopping for kids shoes, but whilst many of them are adorable, not all are practical or safe.

 

How do I Pick the Right Shoes?

 

Picking the right shoes need not be a challenge. There are some simple guidelines to follow to ensure you make the right decision:

1. If the Shoe Fits

Children’s feet grow, a lot – up to 12 sizes in their first three years of development. But almost half of kids are wearing the incorrect shoe size. This can cause some serious problems while the feet are still growing, so it’s vital to always measure your child’s feet before buying any new shoes.

 

As they can change so rapidly, frequent size checks are recommended by physiotherapist at the following rate:

  • Every two months for children under two years old
  • Every four months for kids aged three to four
  • Every six months for kids over the age of five

 

And no matter what the measurement is, always have your kids try shoes before buying them; their feet should not be squashed across their width, and their toes should be able to move freely. If your little ones are mobile, get them to walk around in the shoes to test their comfort level and identify any areas of tightness or discomfort.

2. Different Shoes for Different Stages of Development

Shoes for infants differ greatly from shoes for kindergartners, so bear in mind your child’s stage of development. Infants don’t need much support as they won’t be walking.. Toddlers are mid-development, but on their feet all day, so they need room to grow and some cushioning. Older children have less fragile feet but are using them in more varied ways, and generally for higher impact activities, so shoes with a mix of flexibility and support are better.

3. Consider the Activity

For older kids, as with adults, it’s important to remember what activity the shoes will be worn for. Running shoes are built differently than walking shoes. If your child plays a specific sport, consider buying shoes that are designed for that sport, as they will offer more protection and support in the specific ways required of that activity. If you’re simply searching for good all-purpose shoes, check the soles for thickness and grip, the flexibility of the material, and above all else the fit.

4. Material Considerations

Children’s feet sweat more than twice as much as an adult’s, so look for shoes made of light, breathable, natural materials, so your their feet don’t overheat. This can prevent blisters as well as unpleasant odours. Canvas is a great option, as it is also washable, while still being durable. Avoid plastics and synthetic materials.

5. Fasteners

The shoes you’re considering may come with laces, velcro, or something else entirely. Generally it’s recommended to avoid slip-ons and backless shoes for kids, as they don’t offer adequate support. Choosing between fasteners is a matter of ability for your child; wherever possible choose a shoe that they can get on and off themselves.

 

The better prepared you are before you head out in search of children’s shoes, the easier your shopping trip will be. Always remember, if they’re not comfortable in the store, they won’t be worn at home!

 

Fall in the elderly: causes and prevention

The population of Quebec, like the vast majority of Western countries, is aging. The evolution of our society allows older people today to have a more active lifestyle than before. To this effect, we place a high value on autonomy and home care. Nevertheless, a simple fall can turn an independent life into a dependent one. In Quebec, there are 14,000 hospitalizations following a fall of adults aged 65 and over each year. 20% of people in this age bracket who have suffered a hip fracture as a result of a fall, die within one year. 

 

Causes

It is known that between 30% and 50% of falls are related to environmental factors. Researchers have identified a number of hazards, at home and in public places, that contribute to falls. Tripping objects, poor lighting, slippery or uneven surfaces or stairs are common risk factors. 

 

The weakening of the body due to age can be accentuated by poor life habits. A sedentary lifestyle, a diet low in protein and calcium, as well as alcohol, all have consequences for the health of our bones. These habits make older populations even more vulnerable and increase the probability that a fall will occur and the resulting consequences will be serious (fracture). 

 

Biological and medical risk factors are also important. The aging of a person is accompanied by changes in the body (decreased muscle mass, increased fat and weakened bones). To these effects can be added a slowing down of reflexes, a decrease in eyesight, in mobility and in balance. Getting around then becomes more demanding and difficult. 

 

Prevention 

Physical activity is still the best way to reduce the risk of falling. Active people are in better shape and are more alert mentally. All the reasons are good to move: social activities, sports, clubs of all kinds. 20 minutes of daily exercise or at least three times a week, can greatly help with physical maintenance. In fact, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (65  Years & Older) is an excellent source of information with suggestions for staying active and healthy. 

  

Strength and balance contribute to stability. It is therefore important to strengthen the legs to reduce the risk of falling, due to loss of balance. There are also many activities that help improve balance. Walking is a good example. When performed with walking sticks, this activity becomes much more stable, while increasing physical activity. Swimming is also a very good choice, as is cycling and golf. 

 

It is also possible to reduce the use of medications by taking on a healthier lifestyle. Good nutrition, lots of omega-3s, good sleep habits and exercise are the ingredients for maintaining good health. It is recommended that you have your prescription medications validated every year to make sure that you have the correct dose. This will help to try to reduce the amount of medication necessary. 

 

If you feel less and less stable when you are standing, do not hesitate to contact us to evaluate your strength, stability and balance. Our team of therapists will provide you with advice on exercise, nutrition and prevention. Do not let a fall put you down! 

 

Main tips for preventing falls 

  • In your home, reduce clutter and avoid loose carpets;
  • Make sure you have easy access to the bath or shower; 
  • Wear non-slip shoes and slippers with good support;
  • Have your vision and hearing checked every year;
  • Have your prescription medications validated regularly.

 

 

 

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