Your physical therapist may develop a program to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination, and counteract existing patterns of movement that may be damaging to joints.
Balance may improve by performing exercises that strengthen the ankle, knee, and hip muscles. Other exercises may help improve the vestibular (inner ear balance) system. The National Aging Council reports that a third of people older than 65 and half of those older than 80 will fall this year, often with serious consequences.
People with diabetes often have reduced muscle mass, and, as a result, less mobility. Adding resistance training enables patients to develop lean tissue, leading to greater activity. Unless those with diabetes make sure to stay active, the condition can cause serious symptoms such as damage to the blood vessels and nerves. These problems can affect the legs and feet, causing foot ulcers or sores. In some cases it can lead to amputation and blindness.
Bumps, blasts, falls or penetrating injuries to the head can cause mild or traumatic brain injury. TBI can cause personality changes, amnesia or loss of mental or physical abilities. The severity depends on the injury and can range from mild (a brief change of mental state) to severe (an extended loss of consciousness). Concussions are a form of mild traumatic brain injury. They frequently occur among soldiers who sustain blast injuries. They may also happen to athletes or older adults after a fall.
Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability, but remarkable progress can be made in patients through physical therapy. Using exercises to strengthen the body-mind connection, many people regain speech, movement and other abilities. Rehabilitation can begin once a patient is stable exercise and other activities can help improve movement, allowing greater independence and a better quality of life after stroke.
Illness, injury, surgery or cancer treatments may result in physical changes, such as the loss of use of a limb, less flexibility or decreased movement. You may have crutches, a prosthetic limb, wheelchair or other assistive device. Your physical therapist can support your progress with exercises and guidance.