The 10th Annual Fall Prevention Awareness Day is Friday, September 22.
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated for a fall in the emergency room and in one of 10 cases requires hospitalization. Dr. Eric Kulhman, a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at the Center for Spine and Orthopedics, recommends these tips to prevent you from falling.
10 Tips to Prevent Falls
An older adult is treated for a fall in the emergency room every 11 seconds resulting in an injury requiring hospitalization in one out of 10 cases. It’s vital that you take steps to reduce your risk of falling. Here are some tips to help:
- Don’t multitask while walking.
Multitasking interferes with your ability to identify that a fall is about to happen. Also, be conscious of your surroundings. Watch for surface changes and obstacles.
- Do not wear slippers around the house.
They do not provide adequate support and stability. Floppy slippers can cause you to trip.
- Ensure proper fitting shoe gear.
Use inserts to take pressure off painful areas. Choose the right shoe for your activity. New shoes might have slippery soles.
- Physical therapy is extremely important to help strengthen intrinsic foot muscles.
Your physician can refer you to a podiatrist specializing in feet.
- Receive routine foot care from a podiatrist.
Your podiatrist can also address foot deformities, such as bunions and hammer toes, which increase your risk of falling
- Get exercise regularly.
Tai chi, water fitness classes and walking build strength, improve flexibility and balance. Add a new activity or exercise class to your routine. Work on your coordination and balance. Use it or lose it!
- Get your eyes tested.
Identify and treat vision problems so you can clearly see where you are going.
- Consider your medications.
Some prescriptions may cause excessive drowsiness or dizziness. Talk to your doctor about alternative medications. The combination of several drugs or over the counter medications can cause problems.
- Fall-proof your home.
Get rid of clutter. Secure throw rugs, and put non-slip mats in showers and tubs. Paint the top edge of steps a contrasting color or use solid-color carpeting to better see edges of individual stairs.
- Keep an eye on your pet.
For more information and a free foot evaluation, come hear Dr. Kuhlman speak from 5:30-6:30 on Wednesday, October 11, at the Erie Community Library.