Dr. Dan Alcorn, PT, DPT is a physical therapist with MovementX in Northern Virginia.
Step Up Your Ground Game
The potential for falling is a constant threat in our daily lives.
From the wet spot on the bathroom floor, to the missed step at the base of the stairs, and the pesky cat that is always underfoot, it is amazing we can make it through the day unscathed.
While my daily struggle with my wife’s beloved cat is a nuisance, these threats become more serious with age, as our balance, strength, and mobility to overcome these falls decreases.
A strong ground game cannot be restored overnight – it will take MANY repetitions of purposeful movement that are salient, specific, and build in intensity. Why not use this approach in the clinic, while simultaneously addressing the impairments associated with our patients’ most common injuries?
1.) Ground Lunge Transition
2.) Ground Squat Transition
3.) Ground 4-Point Transition
4.) Ground 2-Point Transition
While you are down there, why not spend a couple of minutes mobilizing your whole body with the following movement series? We use some variation of this sequence with virtually every patient in the clinic. Whether you have knee pain, hip stiffness, back pain, shoulder weakness, this movement series does not discriminate! The ground rocker sequence is a veritable “Swiss Army Knife,” of movement practices. So, without further ado, here it is:
5.) Quadruped Sit Backs
6.) Adductor Sit Backs
7.) Z Sit Rotations
8.) Z Sit Stretch
9.) Lunge Rocker 1
10.) Lunge Rocker 2
11.) Lunge Rocker 3
The Take Home: Falling is Scary Business!
Actively work to mitigate the risks associated with falling by reacquainting yourself with one of the first skills you learn as a child – lowering and rising from the ground
Restore lost mobility, coordination, and body control through daily exposure to a ground-based movement practice
Check the work of your house cleaning crew through daily, under the couch inspections!
1. Tromp AM, Pluijm SMF, Smit JH, et al. Fall-risk screening test: a prospective study on predictors for falls in community-dwelling elderly. J Clin Epidemiol 2001;54(8):837–844.
2. Bergen G, et al. Falls and fall injuries among adults aged ≥ 65 years—United States, 2014 MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016 65 37 993 8
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Welcome to WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars.
4. Bhasin S, et al. A randomized trial of a multifactorial strategy to prevent serious fall injuries. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020;383(2):129-140. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2002183.
About the Author
Dr. Dan Alcorn is a physical therapist with MovementX in Northern Virginia. He is a Board-Certified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and is also fellowship-trained in the care for upper extremity athletes. Dan Alcorn treats patients at Patriot CrossFit in Arlington, VA, and has a strong passion for improving people’s confidence through healthier movement, lifestyle choices, and longevity.
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