Fall Prevention
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Fall prevention: 6 tips to prevent falls
Falls put you at risk of serious injury. Prevent falls with these
simple fall-prevention measures, from reviewing your medications
to hazard-proofing your home.

By Mayo Clinic staff
Fall prevention may not seem like a lively topic, but it's important.
As you get older, physical changes and health conditions — and
sometimes the medications used to treat those conditions — make
falls more likely. In fact, falls are a leading cause of injury among
older adults. Still, fear of falling doesn't need to rule your life.
Instead, consider six simple fall-prevention strategies.

1. Make an appointment with your doctor

Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with
your doctor. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

What medications are you taking? Make a list of your prescription
and over-the-counter medications and supplements, or bring them
with you to the appointment. Your doctor can review your
medications for side effects and interactions that may increase your
risk of falling. To help with fall prevention, your doctor may
consider weaning you off certain medications — such as sedatives
and some types of antidepressants.
Have you fallen before? Write down the details, including when,
where and how you fell. Be prepared to discuss instances when
you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab
hold of something just in time. Details such as these may help your
doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.
Could your health conditions cause a fall? Certain eye and ear
disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss
your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you
walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain,
numbness or shortness of breath when you walk? Your doctor may
evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as
well.

2. Keep moving

Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With
your doctor's OK, consider activities such as walking, water
workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and
graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of
falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

If you avoid physical activity because you're afraid it will make a
fall more likely, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend
carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical
therapist. The physical therapist can create a custom exercise
program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle
strength and gait.

3. Wear sensible shoes

Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall-prevention
plan. High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can
make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in your stocking
feet. Instead:

Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes, since foot size
can change.
Buy properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles.
Avoid shoes with extra-thick soles.
Choose lace-up shoes instead of slip-ons, and keep the laces tied. If
you have trouble tying laces, select footwear with fabric fasteners.
If you're a woman who can't find wide enough shoes, try men's
shoes.
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