Getting a Grip on Your Balance: March 16, 2012

Avid tennis player Hugh Marshall feared he was losing a grip on his balance.

“Balance is pretty important in tennis and I thought this might give me a little clue.”

He already suffered one fall.

“I fell off my bicycle about a year ago and I think it was attributed to my lack of balance.”

So Hugh underwent a free balance screening through Lee Memorial Health System.

“First they will fill out a questionnaire on activities of daily living; how confident they are in 16 areas. Then that information follows them through to another station where they go through physical tests, such as trying t stand on one foot, turn, reach, sit to stand from a normal height chair five times and the last area is where they actually have an exit interview with the physical therapist,” says Natalie Grondin, a physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.

How important is assessing balance? Thirteen million Americans over age 65 have a balance problem. Falls are consistently a leading cause of injury death among the elderly. Getting a proper evaluation can be life changing, even life-saving.

“It’s very quick and people learn a lot in a very short period of time and they say ‘oh that was helpful, I didn’t realize I had so many problems’ or ‘I’m doing better than I thought’,” says Grondin.

While Hugh learned he didn’t need therapy, experts did serve up a few tips to help restore his standing on the courts.

“I do get light headed to do a 360 one way, just turn around 360 this way and then turn around 360 the other way.”

Getting a grip on your balance can help you stand strong and stay healthy.