If you’ve searched for information on this topic then the assumption here is that you may be experiencing issues with your balance. Of course, the background and motivations will vary. You may be of advanced age, or suffering through diabetes and have issues feeling your feet and connecting to the motions needed for proper balance. On the flip side, you may be an athlete, avid skateboarder, or anyone who depends upon balance to optimize activity performance. Whichever the case, physiotherapy can recognize underlying issues that may be impacting your balance, while providing a solution to correct and improve them. Let’s take a look at a few key possibilities.
3 Ways Physiotherapy Can Identity Issues Connected to Balance and Help You Make Improvements
1. Custom Orthotics May Be the Solution
It is possible that you may be experiencing issues with balance because of abnormal foot and lower extremity positioning and function. Because feet play a direct role in supporting body weight, correction of abnormalities will have a positive impact on your stability. This is where custom foot orthotics come into play. In the most basic sense of the description, custom orthotics are custom made inserts for your footwear that have been designed to address various foot and lower body conditions.
Important studies have shown that custom orthotics have proven beneficial not only in correcting a patient’s Gait (manner of walking) and providing independence in ambulation, they also enhance balance performance to the point that there is a notable improvement in the overall balance score measured with Computerized Dynamic Posturography tests.
Make no assumptions about the existence of (or lack thereof) your abnormal foot/ankle function. Instead, learn more about custom orthotics and consider getting an evaluation from a physiotherapy clinic near you.
2. Vestibular Rehabilitation May Be Another Option
Dizziness and a lack of balance go hand in hand.
Your vestibular system includes components of the inner ear and brain that help manage balance and eye movement. Some commonly diagnosed vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, Ménière’s disease, secondary endolymphatic hydrops, and perilymph fistula.
We know, the above sounds pretty complicated. But the bottom line is that these (and other ailments) can result in dizziness and/or feelings of vertigo and if you suffer from them, you probably don’t have any ambitions of walking the tight rope for the traveling circus. But that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on normal activities and sports that call upon enhanced stability. This is where vestibular rehabilitation arrives on the scene.
Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based program that is designed by a specialized physical therapist, to improve balance and reduce dizziness-related concerns. The program may include (but is not exclusive to) an exercise plan which typically involves head and eye movements and balance training which will not only help you restore normal function, it may very well help you perform better than ever before.
3. Working the Core
You may not be experiencing any of the ailments and abnormalities addressed above, and are simply looking to ramp up your balancing act. This is where we introduce a physiotherapist prescribed core stabilization regime.
Studies show that a proper core fitness regime can have a very positive impact on balance. Look no further than this study which focuses on stroke patients who have experienced a very significant loss in balance. The analysis found that core stabilization exercises were highly effective in balance (and Gait) functionality. Imagine what it can do for you?
The right clinic will prescribe a regime that explores both static (stationary body) and dynamic (body in movement) balance and will also focus on hip and leg muscle control and an enhanced awareness of joint positioning. Examples of some exercises you may find in your core stabilization program include (but are not exclusive to) the following:
- Single leg balance with arm extension
- Elevated plank on exercise ball
- Elevated tree pose
- Single leg deadlift
- Single leg squats
- Jump squats
To be clear, no blog article will fully address what you need to know (and do) to improve your balance. That can only come from a proper assessment from a physiotherapist that specializes in the above disciplines. If you reside in the Burnaby / Coquitlam area (or anywhere in Greater Vancouver BC) we encourage you to tip the scales in favor of better balance by contacting Absolute PhysioCare today.