Parent falling without cause

Posted by kodiac4 @kodiac4, Jan 3 4:54pm

My mom has been falling lately & drs do not know why. Numerous MRI's, lots of tests performed but still no word. I'm concerned she'll fall & break something as she did the first time in Apr, 2021. Since then very fragile, doesn't walk well, dizzy at times but still trying to continue with her days. I'm very worried of what the underlying problem might be.

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Kodiac4, has your mom been evaluated buy a physical therapist? I know my PT has a lot of insight on balance related issues. Balance is dependent on eyesight and hearing as well as physical issues. Even spine alignment issues between the skull and cervical spine can cause dizziness (which I have experienced), and I'm sure there are other problems like dehydration from not drinking enough water that can contribute. Medication side effects could be another source. My elderly mom has no balance and now uses a wheelchair. She had fallen and fractured her pelvis, foot and ankle back in 2015, then the foot twisted until it couldn't be placed flat on the floor, so she could not walk. She had surgery that lengthened the Achilles tendon and moved some of the muscle attachments to get her deformed foot into a more normal position so she could put weight on her foot again. She never walked well after that and balance was still a problem, so she started using a wheel chair. She has severe osteoporosis and is very fragile. Weakness can contribute too, and a physical therapist can help there too.

The action of the foot and ankle is a bit complex. Essentially there is a ball in the joint that supports the leg bones so it can rotate different directions and has tendons connecting to muscles to control the action. Has she been seen by a podiatrist for any possible foot issues?

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Sometimes, "old school" doctoring can help. A commenter on a non-medical site (I looked in several places, but I can't remember where now) mentioned that s/he was falling frequently. Medical exams/tests didn't find anything. After suffering from this condition for quite a while, s/he ended up at the emergency room. The ER doctor listened to the commenter's story/symptoms and irrigated the patient's ears. A LOT of old, compacted wax came out after this very thorough flushing. The commenter said s/he was cured.

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@texasduchess

Of course! Anything amiss in the health or structure of the ears affects your equilibrium…it doesn’t just have to be wax. A build up of fluid is a common occurrence. Have her ears checked by an ENT doctor…not a regular GP.. I wear hearing aids and have had ear infections all my life….so your post should have been a lightbulb moment for me.

FL Mary

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Hello @kodiac4 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! It is great that you are advocating for your mom and trying to find some answers. You don't mention your mom's age, however, balance problems and falling are serious problems as we grow older.

It sounds like you have done a great job at getting her medical evaluations. Has she ever been referred for Vestibular Therapy? Vestibular therapy is a great help to most who have balance problems. I have had a couple of sessions myself. There are exercises you can practice at home after you see a therapist. You might ask your mom's doctor for a referral to a vestibular therapist.

Does your mom have other health problems that might affect her balance?

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