Keep Your Balance: Prevent Falls Before They Happen

No one likes to think about it, but as you age, your risk of falling and injuring yourself increases. Activity levels often decrease, especially around retirement age, and other health issues can affect your balance. Be careful when reaching for things. It's easy to lose your balance when stretching up high or bending over. Don't hesitate to ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to help you if you think something is out of your reach. Your loved ones don't want you to get hurt!

Here are some other tips for preventing falls:

  • Make sure your home is well-lit.
  • Keep pathways clear – things like shoes, power cords and small rugs are easy to trip over if you’re not paying attention.
  • Be extra cautious when going to the bathroom at night; falls are particularly common then. The mere urge to go to the bathroom can lower one's blood pressure, causing light-headedness and loss of balance, so get out of bed slowly to avoid becoming dizzy. Holding onto railings is helpful.
  • Consider installing “grab bars” in the restroom and applying non-slip strips to the bottom of your shower/tub.
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable and fit properly. Flip flops are great for going to the pool or the beach, but wearing them for extended periods of time can cause or exacerbate pain in your legs, hips, and back.
  • Exercise! Any type of activity is helpful, but weight-bearing exercises are known to boost bone and muscle strength. Be cautious with alcohol consumption and use of over-the-counter medications.
  • Talk to your primary care physician or pharmacist about medications you’re taking, how the drugs interact with each other and side effects they may cause.

Life can be unpredictable, so GBMC Health Partners Orthopaedics has added walk-in hours and same-day appointments. If you or a family member falls and gets a twisted ankle, has a painful wrist, hand, elbow, hip, back, knee, shoulder, or is experiencing some other form of acute joint pain, you may now come straight to an orthopaedics specialist rather than going to the Emergency Department.

In a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department. If you are unsure whether or not you are experiencing a true emergency, always use caution and seek care right away.

To learn more about the orthopaedic services offered at GBMC, go to https://www.gbmc.org/orthopaedics.

This webpage is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical advice or a substitute for a consultation with a professional healthcare provider.