Exercise is best for avoiding falls

Exercise is best for avoiding falls

Physiotherapy to gain strength and better balance is clinically proven to reduce falls in older adults.

30-40% of over 65’s will experience 1 fall a year with 10% resulting in serious injuries. Common injuries include wrist, hip and pelvic fractures. Falls account for 87% of fractures in older people so being strong and healthy to avoid potential problems is the first step. Recurrent falls can also severely lower confidence, self-esteem and lead to social isolation.

Exercising regularly including strength training and balance exercises is not only beneficial for falls, but a wide range of other long term health conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.


How do I know if I am at risk?

Try these few simple tasks and see if you’re balance or strength is affected?

  • Stand with your feet together for 1 minute. (without using your hands for balance)
  • Standing unsupported with one foot directly in front of the other, your heel touching your toes on the opposite foot for 30 seconds. Try both sides to see if there is a difference
  • Standing on one leg for more than 10 seconds. Try both sides

Chartered physiotherapists can assess and treat a wide array of conditions. If you are concerned that your strength or balance is affecting your daily living please contact us for an assessment, and advice about what we can do to help you.

Tralee Physiotherapy Clinic runs a stay fit exercise class for older adults, which focuses on strength and balance training to help reduce risk of falls and improve physical and mental wellbeing.

By Sam Treharne, Chartered Physiotherapist Jan 2018

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Good balance is essential for daily life, from getting out of bed to crossing the road. A healthy balance system uses information from the brain, inner ears, eyes, and joints, and enables people to see clearly when moving their head. (1) Balance disorders and dizziness are a growing public health concern across all age groups. Prevalence increases with age and these disorders are some of the most common complaints reported to GPs by older patients.(1) Untreated, they result in worsening unsteadiness, loss of confidence and anxiety, difficulty with concentration and memory, inactivity, loss of independence, an increased risk of falls and costly falls-related injuries. (1) (2) What causes dizziness? The most common form of dizziness and balance disorder is BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), a disorder of the inner ear resulting in episodes of intense dizziness on certain head movements. Other causes include side effects from medication or alcohol, brain disorders such as stroke, concussion or cerebellar degeneration, cardiac problems and anxiety.

What is vestibular rehabilitation ?

VR is an exercise-based programme to encourage the central nervous system to compensate for problems in the inner ear. Following thorough examination, specialist physiotherapists develop personalised exercise-based management plans including home exercise programmes. 

● 80 per cent of unexplained fallers attending A&E had possible vestibular loss, 41 per cent had vertigo, with 30-40 per cent admitted to hospital

● Untreated dizziness/balance disorders may lead to anxiety, avoidance strategies and increased risk of falling, impacting further on resources.

It is found that, over a six month period, the introduction of an award-winning Specialist Physiotherapy and Audiology service for patients referred with balance/dizziness disorders, has reduced waiting times and achieved excellent patient satisfaction. 80 per cent of patients are now managed exclusively in physiotherapy led clinics with 52 per cent assessed, diagnosed and treated in one session.


Nova Mullin, Specialist Physiotherapist Balance and Dizziness

@Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust , Liverpool.

“SWIMMERS SHOULDER” Is it really the shoulder?

“SWIMMERS SHOULDER” Is it really the shoulder?

The shoulder complex is indeed complex and is more than just a ball and socket joint. The joint sits unhinged at either side of our trunk and relies heavily on the relationship of the surrounding tissue and joints to achieve great ranges while preserving stability. Injuries to the shoulder can often occur when the balance between these two has been compromised. The majority of shoulder injuries result from participation in contact sports such as football, in which high-speed collisions and falls are common. However, chronic-overuse shoulder injuries can occur in any activity that requires the shoulder to perform similar motions repeatedly. Swimmers shoulder is a common shoulder complaint which is no surprise when a competitive swimmer can exceed 4000 strokes for one shoulder in a single workout!

The SWIM FOR A MILE charity event happening this April in aid of Temple Street is a fantastic opportunity to focus on achieving your fitness goals in 2020 as well as helping a well-deserved charity. However some individuals may be predisposed to swimmer’s shoulder if they already have musculoskeletal impairments or engage in improper training methods. The shoulder is required to carry out continuous upper arm circumduction in clockwise and counter clockwise directions during almost every stroke. To allow such a sequence to occur smoothly, it is helpful to consider all the components that contribute to shoulder mobility as to view this joint in isolation is to only view the tip of an iceberg!

Research shows that we have a greater chance of experiencing shoulder pain in the sixth decade of life with the most common clinical diagnoses being rotator cuff defects (85%) and/or impingement syndromes (74%). A shoulder injury can occur over time due to impaired movement stemming from the trunk and subsequently can become pathological. We should consider that the thoracic spine (upper and middle back) connects directly to the glenohumeral joint (shoulder), scapulae (shoulder blades), lumbar spine (lower back) and cervical spine (Neck). Muscles that affect respiration, stroke propulsion and shoulder stabilisers are all affected by the thoracic spine function.

There are also other lifestyle and metabolic influences that can affect the health of our shoulder tendons and may predispose a swimmer to becoming susceptible to shoulder pain and dysfunction. Studies have shown that smoking, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were related to an increased prevalence of shoulder pain in both genders. Other extrinsic factors such as when a swimmer has taken a period of time off without training resulting in muscle weakness or altered neuromuscular control of their shoulder complex.

What we as physiotherapists can help identify is the most likely impairments or a possible training error. Additionally it is also important that we rule out any significant tissue pathology that would warrant a referral onwards. However normally a comprehensive rehabilitation program is almost always sufficient for shoulder injuries which will include strengthening the rotator cuff, scapular stabilisers, improve thoracic mobility and implement activity/training modifications in order to help you achieve your 2020 goals.


  1. Maintain neutral head – looking up will slow you down
  2. Push your chest down – helps to keep your legs horizontal
  3. Roll from side to side – using the muscles of your back & not just your shoulder
  4. Use High elbow + forearm vertical for better grip in the water
  5. Avoid overreaching

If you feel you have a shoulder injury, call us now @ 7128863 to book an assessment with anyone of our physiotherapists.



Garving C, Jakob S, Bauer I, Nadjar R,  Brunner U H. Impingement Syndrome Of The Shoulder. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017 Nov; 114(45): 765–776. Published Online 2017 Nov 10. Doi: 10.3238/Arztebl.2017.0765
Rechardt M, Shiri R, Karppinen J, Jula A, Heliövaara M,  Viikari-Juntura E. Lifestyle And Metabolic Factors In Relation To Shoulder Pain And Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: A Population-Based Study; Bmc Musculoskeletal Disorders Volume 11, Article Number: 165 2010
Stocker D, Pink M, Jobe Fw. Comparison Of Shoulder Injury In Collegiate-And Master’s-Level Swimmers. Clin J Sport Med. 1995;5:4–8
Tovin B J, Prevention And Treatment Of Swimmer’s Shoulder. N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2006 Nov; 1(4): 166–175.