Gait and balance problems, as discussed earlier, are usually impairments resulting from a pathological process. In some cases, such as in Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis, intentional prevention of pathology is difficult because its causes are not completely understood. Some causes, however, may be modified. For example, high cholesterol levels contribute to risk of thrombi. Some medications may cause peripheral vestibular damage or dizziness. Reduced range of motion, decreased strength, and inactivity in the elderly can lead to balance and gait problems. Safety education, environmental adaptations, strengthening, flexibility and balance exercises, gait training, good shoes, orthotics, and assistive devices are all key factors in prevention of falls due to balance and gait problems.
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Peggy Campbell Torpey, MPT, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,