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New research from the US suggests that people with arthritis are 2.5 times more likely to hurt themselves in a fall than those of the same age who do not have the condition.

Risks of injury

Arthritis increases your likelihood of injury in two ways. Firstly, you are more likely to fall due to your inability to move as quickly as you once did. Secondly, especially if you are less mobile, you will have a lower bone density and will be more susceptible to bone breakages.

The research by the National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention looked at a 2012 survey of elderly people who didn't live in institutions and found that there was a 79% increased risk of a fall among those with arthritis than those who did not have the condition. Alarmingly, the risk of injury was 149% higher among those who had arthritis over those who did not have it.

The injuries ranged from hip fractures to brain injuries and further reduced mobility. As discussed in a previous article on this site, stopping moving around altogether is one of the worst things you can do if you have arthritis!

Get about gently

It is widely recognised that keeping active and not giving into the pain is the best way to reduce the long term effects of arthritis. Gentle activity and moving the affected joints will improve mobility. You can do specific exercises, walk to the shops and swim.

Alternative exercises

In 2012, scientists looked at 30 people, 15 who did Tai Chi and 15 who did not. Following them during and after the study, the researchers observed that those who did Tai Chi had fewer falls than those who did not. Those who did fall who had done Tai Chi found it easier to stand up again than those who did not.

The research was small scale. As a general rule, the more people with a condition who are involved in a study, the more sound the results. Larger scale research will have to be done for authorities to be confident that Tai Chi is a good way of dealing with falls among the elderly. Until that is done, don't expect a doctor's prescription to do Tai Chi just yet!

The research was small scale. As a general rule, the more people with a condition who are involved in a study, the more sound the results. Larger scale research will have to be done for authorities to be confident that Tai Chi is a good way of dealing with falls among the elderly. Until that is done, don't expect a doctor's prescription to do Tai Chi just yet!

Tips To Help Recover From A Fall

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