Individuals with fragile bones are much more likely to break a bone if they fall. If you have osteoporosis, you should become aware of the factors that will increase the likelihood of falling. Here is some advice to help prevent falls:
- Ask a physiotherapist or occupational therapist to come to your home and advise you on how to reduce hazards that can lead to falls.
- Clear your home of anything that might cause a fall – scatter rugs, protruding furniture, cords that could trip you up.
- Pets like to stay close – be careful not to trip over your pet dog or cat.
- Wear low-heeled shoes that give good support. Take care of your feet. Painful feet may affect your ability to remain stable.
- Watch for uneven ground, sidewalks and floors.
- Keep stairs in good repair, with handrails on both sides, free of clutter and well lit.
- Consider your medications (prescription, over-the-counter and herbal) and their potential side effects. Studies suggest that certain medications may increase the risk of falling. For example, an antidepressant may cause a drop in blood pressure and fainting in some people. Other medications, such as sleep aids, may cause drowsiness or a decrease in alertness. If you are on a combination of medications, be sure to discuss this issue with your doctor and pharmacist.
- If you must go out on ice and are considering wearing ice grips on the soles of your boots, a word of caution: Always be very careful when selecting any product for traction on slippery – especially icy – surfaces. These surfaces present a hazard for any individual and no one should rely completely on an anti-slip device to protect them from a fall. As well, remember to remove the anti-slip product when entering a store or mall. They can be slippery on indoor – especially tile – surfaces. If you use a cane, put an ice pick on it. Keep your outside stairs and sidewalk clear of ice and snow.
- Stay physically active. Individually tailored exercise programs that include muscle strengthening, balance training and walking are effective in reducing falls.
Most large communities have falls prevention programs to help raise awareness of the factors that increase one’s chances of falling. Call your local community information centre to access falls prevention resources.
More about Living Well with Osteoporosis:
Information on Falls and Daily Living
Information on Fractures and Resources