Skip to content

Osteoporosis Health Center

Select An Article

How to Prevent Falls

    Font Size

    Preventing falls is a special concern for men and women with osteoporosis. Falls can increase the likelihood of fracturing a bone in the hip, wrist, spine, or other part of the skeleton. In addition to the environmental factors listed below, falls can also be caused by impaired vision and/or balance, chronic diseases that affect mental or physical functioning, and certain medications, such as sedatives and some antidepressants. It is important that individuals with osteoporosis be aware of any physical changes that affect their balance or gait, and that they discuss these changes with their health care provider.

    Here are some tips to help eliminate the environmental factors that lead to falls.

    Recommended Related to Osteoporosis

    Bone Loss and Posture: 6 Tips to Look Your Best

    Everything changes with time -- and that's certainly true if you have bone loss from osteoporosis. Little compression fractures can affect the way you sit, stand, walk -- and look. You may be a bit shorter now, your posture a little different. "These changes alter how a woman's clothes fit," says Susan Randall, RN, senior director of education for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "Clothes don't seem to drape as they should. The length of a dress doesn't seem right -- it's down in front, pulling...

    Read the Bone Loss and Posture: 6 Tips to Look Your Best article > >

    Outdoors:

    • Use a cane or walker for added stability.
    • Wear rubber-soled shoes for traction.
    • Walk on grass when sidewalks are slippery.
    • In winter, carry salt or kitty litter to sprinkle on slippery sidewalks.

    Indoors:

    • Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors.
    • Keep floor surfaces smooth but not slippery.
    • Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes even at home.
    • Be careful on highly polished floors that become slick and dangerous when wet.
    • Avoid walking in socks, stockings, or slippers.
    • Be sure carpets and area rugs have skid-proof backing or are tacked to the floor.
    • Be sure stairwells are well lit and that stairs have handrails on both sides.
    • Install grab bars on bathroom walls near the tub, shower, and toilet.
    • Use a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub.
    • Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries beside your bed.
    • If using a step stool for hard-to-reach areas, use a sturdy one with a handrail and wide steps.
    • Add ceiling fixtures to rooms lit by lamps.
    • Consider purchasing a cordless phone so that you don’t have to rush to answer it or so that you can call for help if you do fall.

    To reduce your risk of breaking a bone in the event that you fall, get regular exercise and talk to your health care provider about taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on April 15, 2015
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Women working out and walking with weights
    Reduce bone loss and build stronger muscles.
    Chinese cabbage
    Calcium-rich foods to add to your diet.
     
    woman stretching
    Get the facts on osteoporosis.
    Porous bone
    Causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment.
     
    senior woman
    Article
    Woman holding plate of brocolli
    Article
     
    wrist xray
    Quiz
    Superfood for Bones
    Slideshow
     
    mature woman
    Article
    sunlight in hands
    Article
     
    man and woman in front of xray
    Quiz
    woman with dumbbells
    Article