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Overcoming the Fear of Falling: May 22, 2019

A fall can cause devastating and long-lasting injuries. But Lee Health physical therapist Nathalie Grondin says the fear of falling can also be detrimental to a person’s health. “A high fear of falling becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s known that a high level of fear of falling can actually cause a fall.”

It’s important to address a patient’s level of fear. “There could be multiple reasons why a person has a fear of falling, and we have to distinguish whether or not they have a high level of concern or fear,” said Grondin.

When fear of falling becomes irrational, patients often start to limit their activities. “We have to face it. We have to tackle it together,” she said.

Using balance screenings, questionnaires, and special testing, physical therapists can determine a person’s risk of falling. If they are at risk for a fall, they may benefit from physical therapy. “We will practice that very activity that causes a problem, but we will downgrade the level of difficulty for the activity,” Grondin said.

Addressing triggers and balance concerns, physical therapists can recommend exercises to help improve a patient’s confidence. “Our goal is to catch them early and show them that they can do better,” she said.

Keeping them active and eliminating the fear of falling.


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