Age; as we age the chances of falling tends to increase due to decreased activity level, and overall health status.
Previous falls; once we have experienced one fall often we will continue to have falls. This can be due to poor balance, and decreased strength.
Poor vision or Reduced Hearing; our vision and hearing change how we experience the environment around us, which impacts our ability to stay on our feet.
Chronic health conditions; with more medical conditions, there is a higher likelihood that an individual will be on more medications which can have an impact on balance, as a common side effect of many medications can causing dizziness.
Environment; Our direct surroundings can also contribute to falling by causing us to trip. Outdoors things like ice, snow, or uneven ground. Indoors things like area rugs, shoes left by the door, pets or things left out on the floor can all cause a fall.
While falls can be quite scary, there are things that can be done to prevent falling in the first place.
Here are some tips to prevent slips and falls this winter!
Make sure you wear good supportive footwear with a rubber sole that will give you good traction. You could also consider wearing ice grippers that can slip over top of your boots to improve your grip.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Walk on clear paths and walkways if you are able. Ensure that you keep your head up to see where you are going and if there are any visible icy spots ahead, and ensure that your hands are not in your pockets to help with your balance. Also take care when getting out of vehicles- check the ground you are going to stand on and try to get both feet on the ground before standing up.
If you are walking on a slippery surface, change the way you walk- think about walking like a Penguin!
- point your feet outwards slightly,
- take short shuffle-like steps,
- keep your hands by your sides,
- watch where you are stepping,
- walk more slowly.
Talk to a Healthcare Professional About Your Falls Risk.
If you are concerned about your balance or if you are at risk of falling, talking to a healthcare professional is a good place to start. If you are taking multiple medications a Doctor or Pharmacist can help you review these and make sure any side effects are not impacting your balance. A Physiotherapist can perform a falls risk assessment to determine if you are at risk of falling and if you are, they can develop a plan to help you reduce this risk- which may include exercises to help improve your lower limb strength and overall balance.
Stay Fit and Active.
Regular exercise is important as we age. Exercising and staying active builds strong muscles to improve your balance, strength and mobility which are all needed for falls prevention. If you are not sure where to start, our Physiotherapists at Donald Physiotherapy are here to help! We can help to develop a personalized program based on your specific needs, and current health level.