Question:Can a stretching program lower the chances that my elderly mother will fall?
There is evidence that limitations in hip flexibility could impair walking ability in the elderly. This increases the risk of falling. As you walk, the hip extends in the back leg. A new study showed that the hip joint doesn't extend as far back in the elderly as in younger people. Elderly people at a high risk for falls showed even less hip extension.
So a stretching program that helps improve hip extension could potentially help elderly people avoid falling--and the pain and hospital stays that falling can cause. Before starting any form of treatment, your mother should talk to her doctor. She also needs to address any other problems that may put her at risk for falling. These can include balance, strength, or vision problems.Â
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