Falls: A Common Cause of Injury

With winter upon us, extra precaution should be taken to avoid slips and falls on the ice and snow. However, falls can happen at any time and are a leading cause of injury amongst seniors in the United States. Of those 65 and older, thirty percent will experience a fall this year. Furthermore, ninety percent of the 300,000 yearly hip fractures in the United States are caused by falls. The number of falls—as well as the severity of injury resulting from these falls—increases as people get older. The most common injuries are head injuries and wrist, spine, and hip fractures.

Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to help reduce your chances of falling. The doctors of Sierra Pacific Orthopedics offer the following advice to avoid injury from falling:

Begin a regular exercise program. You’ll feel stronger and better; exercises like tai chi even help improve your balance and coordination. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling.

Make your home safer. About half of all falls occur in the home—lessen that statistic by removing things you can trip over, such as papers, books, and clothes, from places where you walk. Place a rubber mat in the bathtub and remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep them from slipping. Improved lighting will also minimize falls by allowing you to see well.

Have your health care provider review your medicines. The effect of some medications can change as you age, causing drowsiness, dizziness, or lightheadedness and can lead to a fall.

Have your vision checked by an eye doctor. The wrong glasses or conditions like glaucoma or cataracts can limit your vision, thus increasing your chances of falling.