Balance/Difficulty Walking


Balance/Difficulty Walking

The ability to walk in a stable manner comes for good balance and strength.  Balance comes from our  vision, strength and general mobility, and the inner ear.  As the old adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Preventing falls is extremely important.  Several ways to make yourself safer includes assessing your environment, checking your strength, mobility, and balance, and understanding your health.  Simple adjustments can be made in your home include adding hand rails or grab bars, using proper lighting, taking up throw rugs, and wearing good supportive shoes.  A cane or walker may be needed to add safety and stability when ambulating.  A vision check is important as vision changes with age and changes in vision can contribute to falls.  In addition, talking to your doctor about your health and sharing any symptoms of light headedness or dizziness.   Some medical conditions can cause balance issues such as cardiovascular issues, inner ear conditions, central nervous system, medications, anxiety, vitamin deficiencies,  and other medical conditions.  


A person’s strength and balance can be assessed at home.  Can you get up from a kitchen chair without using your hands?  Can you stand on one leg?  These simple tests can indicate the status of your strength and balance.  An exercise program that works on improving mobility, lower extremity strength and balance are important in the prevention of a fall.  Depending on the level of disability, a person may be able to start an independent exercise program such as Yoga or Tai Chi.  Some people may need the guidance of a physical therapist.  Physical therapy can help improve balance, address vertigo or dizziness, and improve a persons ability to walk.   When a person takes an active approach to preventing falls, anxiety or fear can be minimized.   The good news is that falls can be minimized and possibly prevented.