Geriatric physical therapy is a form of physical therapy specifically geared toward older adults and their unique issues and challenges. Geriatric physical therapy takes into account that older adults tend to become less active over time, experience a decrease in muscle strength, coordination, and reaction timing, and have a lower tolerance for physical activity.
Goals of Geriatric Physical Therapy
Our primary goal is in geriatric physical therapy is to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls. Falls are a common and serious problem among older adults, and they can lead to fractures, hospitalizations, and a decline in overall health. At Scona Sports & Physiotherapy, therapists use a variety of techniques to help their patients improve their balance, including exercises that target the core muscles, gait training, and balance drills. They also work with patients to identify and address any environmental factors that may increase their risk of falling, such as loose carpets or poor lighting.
Another key focus of geriatric physical therapy is improving strength and mobility. As people age, they may experience a loss of muscle mass and flexibility, which can make it difficult to perform daily activities such as getting up from a chair or walking up stairs. Physiotherapists work with you to develop individualized exercise programs that target their specific needs and goals. These exercises may include strength training, stretching, and aerobic activity. They may also use assistive devices such as canes or walkers to help you move more safely and comfortably.
Common Conditions Treated in Geriatric Physio
Gait Disorders: A gait is your pattern of walking. When you walk, your muscles balance and coordinate your movement. Gait disorders can be a symptom of an underlying condition. They tend to be more common among older adults. Having a gait condition can affect your quality of life and put you at a greater risk for falling and injuring yourself.
Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, which can alter the gait cycle. The gait cycle is the pattern of movement that happens when a person walks. Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when cartilage breaks down, and damage can occur to the joint. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion. The physical changes that occur with OA and symptoms such as pain and joint swelling can alter parts of the gait cycle and affect how people walk.
Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone.
Arthritis: Arthritis in the lower part of your body, whether osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis, can change your gait, or how you walk. Arthritis literally means joint inflammation. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. There are many different types of arthritis with different causes and treatments. In some types, other organs, such as your eyes, heart, or skin, can also be affected. Common symptoms of arthritis include pain, redness, heat, and swelling in your joints.
Balance: Gait refers to the pattern of limb movements when a person walks. Balance is the ability of the body to maintain its center of gravity while staying upright. Both gait and balance rely on a complex interplay between the brain, nervous system, sensory organs, and musculoskeletal system. A problem in any of these areas can cause difficulties with gait and balance and may increase the risk of falling.