Fracture Prevention: 6 Tips to Fight Fractures, Slips, and Falls
Learn how just a little effort and forethought today can help you prevent fractures tomorrow.
Fracture Prevention Tip: "Fall-Proof" Your Home
Given that you probably spend the bulk of time in your home, a key part of
fracture prevention is to make it safer. But this advice is often ignored.
"Many people just don't do a very good job fall-proofing their homes,"
So what should you do?
- Keep rooms free of clutter -- get rid of those piles of clothes and boxes
- Put down carpet or plastic runners on polished -- and potentially slippery
- Get throw rugs, electric cords, and phone lines off the floor.
- Make sure to have handrails on all stairs.
- Install railings in the bathroom around the toilet and the shower.
- Put a rubber mat on the floor of your bath or shower.
Fracture Prevention Tip: Treat Health Conditions
Many chronic diseases and health conditions become more common as you get
older. Some can affect your strength or physical functioning and increase the
risk of a fall. Arthritis can make it hard to move around. Obviously, vision
problems directly increase your risk of tripping. Other conditions associated
with fractures include chronic lung disease, hyperthyroidism, cancer, chronic
liver disease, chronic kidney disease, and endometriosis.
If you have any other health conditions, ask your doctor if they might
increase your risk of a fall. If they do, see if any treatments might help. One
difficulty is that some of these problems may come on so gradually that you
might not even notice. For instance, you might not realize that your vision is
slowly getting worse, or if your gait has become a little less steady. That's
why it's important to get regular check-ups: not only with your doctor, but
your eye doctor and any other specialists you need.
Bone Fractures Aren't Inevitable
Even with precautions, some types of bone fractures are tough to avoid. Just
a mild bump can be enough to break a bone in people with severe osteoporosis.
Only 10-15% of vertebral fractures are caused by falls, Schousboe says. Many
are caused by physical stress, perhaps by something as simple as bending over
or even coughing.
But this just drives home how important prevention is: since some fractures
can't be prevented, you need to work on the fracture risks you can
control. While bone fractures may be more likely as you get older, they aren't
Sure, some of these fracture prevention tips require a little effort and
forethought on your part. It's easy to put them off or ignore them. But are
they worth it? You bet. Better to take precautions now than regret not taking
them later -- while you lie in a cast counting the panels in your hospital room