Millions of adults over the age of 65 fall each year. The CDC says that more than 25% of older adults fall each year – but they often don’t tell their healthcare provider. This is especially worrisome as a person that’s fallen is at higher risk of falling again.

Younger woman hugging an older woman, possibly her mother or grandmother.

Why are older adults more likely to lose their balance and fall? ActiveCare Physical Therapy, a Physiquality member in New Jersey, notes that there are many factors that can increase the risk of falling. Some can be linked to side effects of aging:

  • Vision problems, like cataracts or using bifocal glasses
  • Muscular weakness
  • Using a cane or walker

Medical conditions can also contribute to falls. Diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, or brain injuries like a stroke, can affect muscular control and cognitive ability, increasing fall risk. Vestibular disorders like Ménière’s disease and vertigo can make you feel dizzy and disoriented, which can lead to falls. Even taking four or more medications at the same time – regardless of what they are for – can increase the risk of falling.

The good news is that physical therapy has been shown to reduce your risk of falling , explains Physiquality member Northern Arizona Physical Therapy Associates. Doing an exercise regimen under the guidance of a physical therapist leads to fewer falls. More importantly, both the number of fall-related fractures and the number of falls that required medical attention decreased. So improving your strength through physical therapy means you’re less likely to fall, require medical attention, or fracture a bone.

Older male patient working with a younger female physical therapist to stretch his left calf and hamstring while sitting on a large exercise ball.

While each patient is unique and will work with their PT to create a physical therapy program for their specific needs, Progressive Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, a Physiquality member in California, identifies typical approaches to reduce your risk of falling:

  • Balance training
  • Strength training
  • Aerobic training

Your physical therapist may also ask about what may be increasing your fall risk in your own environment, like rugs that become loose and cause you to trip. They may also talk to you about your fear of falling, as some seniors avoid activity because they are afraid of hurting themselves – and then lose the strength they need to retain their balance and avoid falls.

If you or a loved one are getting older and worried about the risk of falling, use the locator below to find a nearby Physiquality physical therapist – and get stronger today.

Thank you to our contributors:

ActiveCare Physical Therapy is a Physiquality member with three locations in northern New Jersey. They strive for compassion for their patients, commitment to their patients, and a high quality of care. Their goal is to make you better as quickly as possible.

Physiquality member Northern Arizona Physical Therapy Associates has locations in Bullhead City and Kingman, AZ. They work to help you heal from an injury, learn how to prevent future injuries, and provide pain relief through customized treatment plans.

Physiquality member Progressive Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation is in Southern California. Established in 2004, Progressive PT takes pride in personalized programs based on the latest scientific evidence, state-of-the-art treatments, equipment, and modalities. Their one-on-one treatments with licensed therapists in a comfortable atmosphere encourage positive results.

Facts about falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 6, 2021.


Cochrane Library Special Collection: Preventing falls and fall-related injuries in older people. Cochrane, February 1, 2019.

Fall prevention and gait training. ActiveCare Physical Therapy.

Decreasing fall risk with physical therapy. Northern Arizona Physical Therapy Associates.

Elderly fall prevention. Progressive Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation.

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