Preventing Future Falls
After you have recovered from a fracture, it is very important to prevent future falls and injuries. You can reduce the chances of another fall by understanding why falls happen, getting proper nutrition and making simple changes around your home.
What Causes Falls?
Most fractures occur when a person falls. Falls may be the result of loss of balance, medication side effects, poor vision, impaired mobility, loss of strength, environmental problems and osteoporosis. Seniors are particularly afraid of falling, which causes them to restrict their activity level. This actually leads to further muscle weakness, poor balance and joint stiffness, subsequently increasing the chance of a fall. The best prevention against falling is remaining active and staying in good physical condition. A physical therapist should be consulted for assistance with an individualized program.
How Can I Prevent a Future Fall?
Make sure you are getting proper amounts of calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
Consult a physical therapist for an individualized assessment and exercise program.
Use nightlights in hallways, bathrooms and bedrooms.
Make sure rugs stay in place with adhesive backings.
Add adhesive, no-slip strips to bathtubs and bathroom floors.
Install grab bars near the bathtub and toilet.
One of the goals of the Hip Fracture Program is to educate the community about causes of fractures. This education includes screening for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis means "porous bones." As we age, our bone mass declines faster than new bone can form. As a result, bones can become susceptible to fractures. The loss of bone mass has no symptoms and usually causes no pain until a bone breaks. Spinal fractures can cause a loss of height, severe back pain and curving of the shoulders and spine.
Risk factors for osteoporosis include being female (especially if experiencing menopause), increased age, being of Caucasian or Asian descent, being deficient in calcium and vitamin D, inactivity, smoking and drinking alcohol, family history of osteoporosis, and some medications.
Preventing osteoporosis is not entirely out of your control. Regular exercise and a healthy diet including calcium and vitamin D can help. If you smoke, quit, and ask your doctor about medications that could prevent osteoporosis, such as estrogen.