This week is Falls Awareness Week, an annual event which aims to highlight things you can do to reduce your risk of falling and the local services available to help you to do this.
Falling is the commonest cause of accidental injury in the UK, with more than 2.7 million people affected each year. Falls can happen to anyone, although some of the symptoms of MS – such as problems with sight, mobility and continence – can increase the risk.
In 2008 the MS Trust published Falls: managing the ups and downs of MS, a practical guide to coping with the risk of falling. The book looks at factors that increase the risk of falling and includes tips and suggestions for reducing the dangers. There is also a section on the fear of falling and information on how to remain safe should you have a fall.
Our newsletter Open Door also has regular features offering practical advice on issues such as avoiding falls. In the February issue this year, Alison Clarke, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Mobility and Specialised Rehabilitation Centre at Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, wrote about MS and changes to walking and balance.
Alison highlighted how functional electrical stimulation (FES) is often very successful in addressing walking problems in MS, particularly issues with dropped foot. People with MS who use FES often notice significant changes to their walking including greater confidence and speed, less effort involved and fewer stumbles. To read more about FES click here.
Do you have any practical tips for avoiding falls or stumbles? Let us know in the comments below.