Fall Prevention and Balance Program

The Fall Prevention & Balance Program at The Foot & Ankle Center is a highly customized plan of care, unlike any other program in Richmond, designed to help a patient reduce their risk of falling. We start with a comprehensive examination and develop a detailed, individualized plan for each patient to focus on six primary areas:

  • Musculoskeletal and neuromuscular impairments and functional ability;
  • Visual and vestibular function;
  • Balance strategies and righting reactions;
  • Environmental safety;
  • Behavioral risk factors and comorbidities;
  • Patient education.

The key is to address the cause of the patient’s balance dysfunction with skilled therapy, while providing education on personal and environmental risk factors for falls, both at home and in the community. We also emphasize the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle and establishing a plan for continued exercise after therapy.

Falling is a Big Problem

  • Falls represent the most common accident of daily life, and are the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly.
  • Half of adults over the age of 80 fall each year.
  • Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.

Fall Prevention Tips

  • Improve balance and strength with exercise programs;
  • continue to stay active!
  • Reduce tripping hazards. Keep cords, shoes, papers,
  • Plants and boxes out of walkways.
  • Improve lighting and use nightlights.
  • Install railings on both sides of stairways.
  • Avoid throw rugs or use nonskid mats or tape.
  • Add grab bars in and beside the tub/shower and next to the toilet.
  • Use a nonslip mat or appliqués in the tub/shower.
  • Have eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year, and avoid wearing bifocals or trifocals.
  • Ask a doctor or pharmacist to review medications to identify those that may cause dizziness or drowsiness.

Wear the Right Shoes!

  • Footwear has been identified as an environmental risk factor for falls – both indoors and outdoors.
  • Numerous studies report that walking barefoot or wearing socks or slippers increased fall risk by up to 11 percent.
  • Shoes should have low heels, ideally less than one inch.
  • Shoes should have a back. (Avoid slip-ons, slippers, flip flops.)
  • Shoes should have nonslip properties.
  • Shoes should provide adequate arch and ankle support.
  • Brands to look for include SAS, Clarks, Merrell, ECCO, Brooks, ASICS, New Balance (600+).
  • The Foot & Ankle Center has an on-site shoe and footwear shop for our patients’ convenience, a full-time pedorthist (shoe and insole fitting specialist), and we work with retailers such as Richey & Co., that specialize in fitting stylish shoes that are good for your feet.

Continue to Stay Active After Your Therapy

For continued exercise after your therapy, there are many resources available in our community. Our physical therapists work with a number of area gyms to help ensure our patients are able to maintain the gains they’ve achieved through physical therapy.

Request a Consultation

The Fall Prevention & Balance Program at The Foot & Ankle Center is the only program of its type in Richmond, in fact we were interviewed about it on CBS6's Good Morning Virginia show if you'd like to check out the video.

With on-site physical therapy, expert shoe fitting, custom orthotics, podiatric care and even specialty nail care offered right here in our clinic, our program is both comprehensive and convenient for patients.

Anyone wishing to improve their balance and reduce their risk of falling may benefit from our unique program. To get started, please use the link below to request an appointment for a complete Fall Prevention & Balance evaluation.