Be careful this winter when you step outside on icy walkways and sidewalks: more than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling.
While everyone is at risk of falling outdoors when Virginia’s temperatures plummet below freezing, older adults need to be extra vigilant. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuiries for people 65 and older.
According to the most recent statistics, 29 million adults fell in 2014. More than one-third needed medical treatment. About 27,000 older adults died as a result of the falls.
Fortunately, although falls are common, they are largely preventable. Additionally, many people can help prevent fall-related fractures by keeping their bones strong.
Talk to your orthopaedic specialist and health provider.
Tell your doctor if you’ve had a recent fall. One out of four older Americans falls each year, yet fewer than half tell their health provider. Are you getting enough calcium and vitamin D? Ask your orthopaedic specialist if you need to take a supplement.
Federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity. Focus on building strength in your legs and improving your balance.
If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health. The health benefits begin immediately. Smoking can decrease your bone mass and increase your risk for bone fractures.
Get screened for osteoporosis.
If you have osteoporosis, you’re more likely to break a bone. Broken bones most often occur in the hip, forearm, wrist, and spine.
Take a balance and fall prevention class.
It’s normal to worry about falling but you don’t want to become less active out of fear. A balance and fall prevention class teaches you how to strengthen your body and improve your balance. You’ll feel more confident knowing your strength and capability.
Have your eyes checked.
Make sure your eyeglass prescription is up to date. Small changes in your vision can increase the likelihood of falling. If your vision is blurry, check your medications. Some prescriptions can cause blurry vision.
+ Read about how to prevent falls by making safety-minded changes to your home.
+ Learn about the advanced techniques used in total joint replacement at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists.