September is Falls Prevention Month. As people age, the risk of falling increases, which is an important topic to address this month. Today, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, and Cassandra Stache, DPM of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center, share 4 ways you or your loved ones can avoid falling.
- Exercise regularly to improve your strength and balance: Exercises that strengthen your legs and improve balance decrease your chances of falling and help you feel more confident. Lack of exercise results in weakness and elevates your chances of falling. Ask your podiatrist or healthcare provider about the best exercise program for you.
- Talk honestly with your healthcare provider about fall prevention and risks: Tell your provider immediately if you are worried about falling, feel unsteady, or if you had a fall. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review all your medications, including OTC medicines. As you age, the way medications affect your body can change. Some medications, or combinations of medications, can make you dizzy or sleepy, causing you to fall. Ask your healthcare provider about vitamin D supplements to improve muscle and nerve health.
- Make your home safer:
- Removing items you can trip over (like books, clothes, shoes, and papers) from places where you walk, including the stairs.
- Removing small throw rugs or using double-sided tape to keep rugs from sliding.
- Keeping items you use often where you can reach them easily without using a step stool.
- Installing grab bars next to and inside the tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Placing non-slip mats on shower floors and in the tub.
- Improving the lighting in your home and hanging lightweight shades or curtains to reduce glare.
- Installing lights and handrails on all staircases.
- Wearing well-fitting shoes with adequate support both inside and outside the home.
- Have your feet and eyes checked annually: You should do this to rule out conditions like cataracts or glaucoma that limit your vision and increase your chances of falling. Also, have your podiatrist examine your feet annually and discuss proper footwear.
If you’ve fallen or have concerns about falling, contact Greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. You can click here to locate contact information for the nearest office to book your appointment.