Skip to content

Fall Prevention

Preventing Slips and Falls

December is around the corner and, thus, so too are the icy walkways.  Slips and falls are common in the winter.  And they hurt!  Even if you don’t fall, the slip may cause enough muscle spasm (to brace you from falling) to cause injury and pain.  How to prevent slips and falls is an important lesson I talk with patients about all the time.  I talk about it a lot because the same important musculoskeletal lessons to being strong, mobile, and balanced are the same principle lessons for fall prevention.

A Critical Component to Prevention

When you are walking, you are standing on one foot approximately 80% of the time.  When you’re running, you’re on one foot 100% of the time.  Sufficed it to say, standing on one leg is a critical component to living a functional life.  When a human is standing on one leg, the gluteus medius muscle (primarily) is involved in keeping your pelvis parallel to the ground.  Do you ever see people walking with their hips dropping to either side with every step they take (Kinda’ like the exaggerated runway model walk)?  This is not healthy.  It’s an indicator that the gluteus muscles are not strong enough.  When they are strong enough, they keep your pelvis parallel to the ground and reduce the amount of forces coming into your knees, hips and back.  Try doing ‘Tree-Pose’ in yoga without engaging your gluteus medius muscles!  Keeping the pelvis parallel to the ground while standing on one leg and being on one leg during the walk/run gait cycle is not only important for reducing the stress into your joints, but is also critical for balance.  And balance is the key to fall prevention.

Teaching Patients to Stand on One Leg

I practice, and teach my patients to stand on one leg.  You should be able to stand on one leg, pelvis parallel to ground, without wobbling too much for at least 30 seconds, eyes open.  Practice this in a safe environment (think pillows and couch around you; not glass tables and wine glasses).  This simple exercise trains your ankle joint and ligaments for proprioception (necessary for balance), and trains you to engage your gluteus medius muscle for strength (necessary for balance).

The bonus is that a strong gluteus medius muscle helps reduce many forms of mechanical low back pain and knee pain.  And, the one-legged standing is an important exercise in ankle sprain rehabilitation.

Fall prevention also includes other variables too:

  • Keep your house clean, or at least the floors uncluttered.
  • Wear supportive shoes with good tread for extra support and protection from the slippery ground.
  • Wear orthotics if your feet and ankles require them.  If you’re unsure if orthotics can help you, please speak with me.
  • Get regular, daily physical activity to keep your bones, muscles, and ligaments strong, and to keep your joints moving.
  • Take care of your physical health by visiting a Chiropractor to ensure you have alignment, mobility, strength, and balance.

And, as always, questions and comments welcomed.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.