10 Ways to Avoid the Most Common Cause of Injury

One of the most common cause of injury among adults is a fall. Among “older adults” having a fall can often be life changing. You may (or may not) consider being over 50 older, but at any age, it is a smart move to avoid falls. Whether you are a woman in your 40’s, 50’s or 60’s, a fall is not something you want to experience.

Often the cause of a fall – a slip, trip or stumble –  is something simple and preventable.  Even if you haven’t fallen in the last year or two, now is the time to prepare. If you have fallen, it’s even more important to make sure you don’t get seriously injured. We all know that It’s much better to avoid injury than to take the time and effort to come back from an injury.

Improve Your Balance
– Practice balance exercises (helps you get upright quickly when you start to do down)
– Use a wall or counter top when you’re just getting started with balance exercises
– Keep your eyes open. When you progress to closing your eyes on balance exercises, go back to holding on
– Strengthen your core with bird dogs, planks and supermans
– Try some yoga balance exercises when you feel the need for more challenge (tree, eagle, dancer, standing hand to toe, half moon)

– Eliminate loose throw rugs (such a simple way to get tripped up!)
– Wear good fitting shoes with treads (avoid flip flops)

– Hold the handrail going down stairs (I slid down my indoor stairs while carrying a load of the laundry while not holding on to the railing. Luckily I wasn’t hurt.)
– Make sure all your laundry is tucked into the laundry basket so you don’t slip on a runaway sock or other piece of laundry
– Don’t stack a pile of stuff at the bottom to take upstairs next trip (or vice versa)

Snow and ice
– Clear ice and snow from sidewalks and driveways, use salt if needed (Two of my sister in laws have ended up in the hospital due to icy conditions and going out for just a second for something)
– Wear boots that have a good grip. Falling on the ice can be dangerous
Walk like a penguin – good advice from one of our guests from our podcast, Jill Rango
Click through on the highlighted link to get good advice on improving balance!

– Turn the light on or use a nightlight in the bathroom (trip over a towel or sleeping dog or something not expected on the floor)
– Watch for pets (like cats) who show affection by rubbing against your legs (my dad fell)
– Expect a dog to jump up on you when you walk in the door (I have a friend in Rhode Island who’s mother came to visit andwas knocked down, hitting her corner of a table.)
– Expect your dog to take off down the steps on a leash when it sees a squirrel (my aunt broke her hip)

After shopping
– Watch for purse handles that dangle. If you put your purse on the edge of a coffee table or on floor near the door, watch out. (It’s easy to catch your foot on the handle and start hopping… and maybe go down.)
– Don’t let plastic bags from groceries scatter to the floor when you’re unpacking groceries, they are very slippery

Yard work
– when using a ladder, have someone hold it and don’t over reach
– never trim trees with a ladder, when the branch you’re trimming falls, it can easily hit the ladder or the tree will shake when the branch detaches
– take several trips, don’t try to carry too much at once

– Wear good treads
– Be aware of tree roots and loose gravel, especially on hills

– practice with clip in shoes in a controlled environment getting on and off
– always signal when you’re slowing down or stopping (hands and verbal)

Mini Stairs
– Those 2 or 3 stairs from the garage into the house seem so innocent, but three of my friends have broken their wrists moving from the garage into the house in the last three years! Usually there is no handrail, so be extra careful
– Some houses have just a couple stairs up to the front door. Over time concrete, wooden or stone stairs can shift making for awkward footing.

– This is number 11, the bonus tip. Be extra careful when your are sick, or if you have side effects of medication that make you dizzy.. If you decide to drink alcohol, be aware that this factor will increase the risk for a fall.

Being aware of your surroundings, taking extra precaution, and  increasing your balance will help you head off a potential fall. What other suggestions do you have to avoid falls?

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