Risks Associated With Falls and Their Prevention

September 5, 2020

As a kid, you might have fallen plenty of times and gotten up as if nothing had gone wrong. However, this changes as you grow older because physical and health conditions also change. Sometimes, the medications you take to treat an ailment can also lead to falls. And, unlike when you were kids, you cannot merely brush it off as nothing happened because it can hurt immensely and can even lead to other health issues. So, are there ways to prevent them? Yes. Keep reading to know more.

Medications

As mentioned earlier, sometimes the medications you take to treat a health condition might end up being the culprit. This is one of the many reasons why self-medication is harmful. In case any medication is to be taken, you need to speak with your healthcare provider before doing so.

Also, make a list of all the medicines you are currently consuming. This will help your doctor to understand possible side-effects and replace it with something that will help restrain these falls.

Health Conditions

Sometimes, even health conditions can cause falls, such as eye or ear disorders. So, talk to your doctor about the same. Make sure you recite all the details, such as feeling dizziness or shortness of breath when you walk, do you feel any numbness in legs, do you often lose balance, etc.

How To Prevent Falls?

Once you have cleared it with your doctor, you can come up with solutions to prevent the same. Some of them include;

Exercise

Physical activity is an excellent way to help you regain balance and prevent falls. After you get an OK from your doctor, you can start by walking or practicing other gentle exercises. Water activities are also great, and these mild exercises help you move forward slowly and steadily. If you are afraid of falling while exercising or if it has happened to you before, then tell your doctor the same. He or she may recommend physical therapy and can curate tailor-made exercises for you to enhance flexibility, strength, and balance.

Devices to Assist You

If required, your doctor might suggest the use of assistive devices such as a walker or a cane stick to help you walk without falling. You can also ensure your home is fall-proof with these tips;

  • While climbing or getting down the stairs, use both the handrails.
  • Cover your stairs and floor with non-slip mats.
  • Opt for a raised toilet seat that comes with armrests.
  • Bath sitting down if possible and install bars or handles to help you.

Wear Proper Shoes

Wearing high heels or shoes with slick soles can lead to more falls. Instead, opt for sturdy and well-fitting shoes that come with a no-skid sole. Also, there are medically approved shoes available in the market. You can always talk to your doctor and ask for a recommendation.

Ensure Your Home Is Hazard Free

If you are suffering from this problem, it is essential for you to convert your home into a safe haven. Look around you and move anything you feel is dangerous. For instance;

  • Remove centre tables, racks and ensure there is enough space for you to walk around freely.
  • Avoid glassware or anything that could break. If you must use them, keep it in a safe location.
  • If you have loose carpets, make sure you switch them into something non-slip or double tape them to ensure protection.
  • Use non-slip rubber mats in your bathrooms.

Also, don’t do all of this alone. Take help from a friend or a family member.

Keep Your Home Well Lit

When you can see everything clearly, there are chances that you can prevent your fall. Therefore, make sure your home is well lit. For instance;

  • Every morning, open the curtains to let the sunlight in and if that is not sufficient, switch on the lights.
  • Every night, keep the bathroom lights on and use nightlights in your room and hallway.
  • If you need to go up or down the stairs, first, switch on the lights.
  • Always keep flashlights handy.

Talk To Your Doctor

The first thing you must do is consult an Orthopaedist or a family healthcare specialist. Once you describe your problem, he or she can even help recommend an occupational therapist, who can come up with strategies and methodologies to prevent any future falls. And, talking to a professional is always better than reaching conclusions on your own.

Blog Written By

Dr Rewat Laxman

Consultant – Orthopaedic Surgeon

Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Koramangala