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Researchers Under the Scope

Nov 21, 2021

For senior citizens, fracturing a hip is more often than not a life-changing injury.

One in three of those patients will die within a year. The second will recover and return home. The third often needs to move to a long-term care facility, to cope with reduced mobility.  

Dr. Cathy Arnold makes it her mission to stop those falls and fractures in the first place.

On this episode of the podcast, she joins us to talk about breakthroughs in rehabilitation techniques and research, as Canada marks fall prevention month every November.

After practicing physiotherapy for 25 years in hospital settings, in the community, and in private practice, Arnold is now the director of the School of Rehabilitation Science at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Medicine.

"What led me to research were those opportunities and interactions that I had with my older clients," said Arnold. 

She said their questions often led her to uncover conflicting scientific advice about how best to heal after surgery, and how to cope with aging.

"I became very interested in what did keep people living longer," said Arnold. "I found working with older adults was really rewarding."

Arnold said older adults need to practice balance exercises, and work at increasing their strength, even if they're frail, or if they've been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

A stronger, more flexible person can catch themself during a fall, said Arnold. That strength and balance can mean the difference between a life-changing fracture -- and escaping from a fall with bruises.

"The next time you fall or you lose your balance, you might be able to catch yourself," said Arnold. "You might be able to put out your leg and your muscles are strong enough to stop you."