Pain, Balance and Falls in Older Adults Webinar

Webinar – Pain, Balance and Falls In Older Adults

Presented by the ANZFPS Education Sub-Committee

Our presenters have provided some responses for questions that they were unable to be answered during our Q&A Session – you can view them here: Pain Webinar – Additional Q&A responses


Pain as a risk factor for falls – An overview of the literature 

Dr Daina Sturnieks, Neuroscience Research Australia

Community-dwelling older adults with pain are more likely to have fallen in the past 12 months and to fall again in the future. A brief overview of the literature will be provided.

Gait, balance and pain in knee osteoarthritis and its impacts on falls

Professor Pazit Levinger, National Ageing Research Institute

People with knee osteoarthritis often report pain, difficulty performing activities of daily living and present with a range of physical impairments including joint stiffness, muscle weakness, altered proprioception, reduced balance and gait abnormalities. This presentation will overview the common gait and balance impairments seen in people with lower limb osteoarthritis and how they may relate to increase falls risk.

Foot pain, balance and falls in older people

Professor Hylton Menz, La Trobe University

Foot pain affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 years and is associated with decreased ability to undertake activities of daily living, problems with balance and gait, and an increased risk of falls. This presentation will provide an overview of (i) the epidemiology of foot pain in older people, (ii) the mechanisms by which foot pain increases the risk of falls, and (iii) interventions targeting foot pain that may reduce the risk of falling.

Interventions to reduce chronic pain—focus on older people

Mr Rodrigo Rizzo, Neuroscience Research Australia

Chronic pain is one of the most common conditions encountered by healthcare professionals among older people. The management of chronic pain in older people must take into account the multiple comorbidities that this population may have (eg. disorders of gait and balance). The risk of falls must be considered for both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions in older patients with chronic pain.


 Dr Daina SturnieksDr Daina Sturnieks

Dr Sturnieks has a PhD in human biomechanics (UWA). She is Laboratory Manager for the Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre at NeuRA. Her research focuses on understanding biomechanical, sensorimotor and neurocognitive contributions to balance and falls in older people and clinical groups, and randomised controlled trials of novel interventions to prevent falls involving balance, stepping and cognitive training. Dr Sturnieks is active in translating research findings into community, aged care and hospital settings and is Executive Board Member of the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society.

Pazit LevingerProfessor Pazit Levinger

Professor Levinger is a Senior Researcher (Accredited Exercise Physiologist) at the National Ageing Research Institute. She also holds Honorary positions at the Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre, Monash University and the Institute for Health and Sport (IHES), Victoria University. She has over 15 years experience, skills and expertise in active ageing, physical activity and falls prevention, quantitative gait analysis and clinical biomechanics with the focus on people with osteoarthritis.

Prof Hylton MenzProfessor Hylton B Menz

Professor Hylton Menz is a podiatrist who graduated with first class Honours and the University Medal from La Trobe University in 1993, and completed his PhD focusing on gait patterns, balance and falls at the University of NSW in 2002. He is currently a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Senior Research Fellow. Professor Menz’s broad research disciplines are human movement, rehabilitation and rheumatology, with a particular focus on musculoskeletal foot problems in older people. His research extends from laboratory-based biomechanical studies through to analysis of epidemiological datasets and the conduct of clinical trials.

Mr Rodrigo RizzoMr Rodrigo Rizzo

Rodrigo Rizzo is a Doctoral Candidate at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW). He is a physiotherapist who has worked in the management of chronic pain for over 15 years.