19 May Preventing Injuries from Falls
It is important to remember that anyone, at any age, can fall and be severely injured. Surprisingly, these are some of the most common injuries seen in emergency rooms. According to the CDC, “One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury.” Preventing injuries from falls becomes more important as we age, when it becomes harder for our bodies to heal quickly and completely.
Remaining physically active and including strength training in your routine, no matter your age, is the single most important way to prevent falling and injuring yourself. Exercise strengthens the muscles that keep you upright, improves coordination, balance and flexibility. If you are already avoiding exercise due to fear of falling, your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist that will help create a safe exercise routine to begin your path to preventing injuries from falls.
Always wear appropriate shoes for any given activity. For example, if you are going to encounter stairs, shoes with closed toes are better than sandals because the front of the sandal or flip flop can get caught on the step and cause you to miss the tread. Flat shoes are much safer than heeled shoes on any surface. Proper foot attire goes a long way at preventing injuries from falls.
Within your own home, there are many things you can do to keep yourself and visitors safe. Be sure high traffic areas are free of clutter and cords, secure loose carpeting, immediately clean any spilled liquids and make sure handrails are installed properly along stairs. Good indoor lighting is also key to assuring your family and visitors can see hazards clearly. This involves placing nightlights in bedrooms and bathrooms, maintaining clear paths to light switches and storing flashlights on every floor of the house in case the electricity goes out. Preventing injuries from falls within the home is important.
When outdoors, be careful in inclement weather. Snow, ice and rain make for slick surfaces. Also, use a handrail or ask for assistance when ascending stairs or traversing uneven walking surfaces.
Certain health conditions and medications can make you more likely to fall so be sure and discuss this possible side effect with your doctor. This is especially true if you have experienced a fall or near fall, meaning someone caught you in time or you managed to grab hold of something prior to falling, in the recent past.
Stay safe out there!