Any woman over the age of 40 who falls from the height of her own body–in other words, doesn’t get bucked from a horse or fall off a ladder–and suffers a wrist, shoulder or hip fracture, has a fragility fracture until proven otherwise. With the exception of spinal compression fractures, the only way to sustain fragility fractures is to fall down. This is a follow-up to my osteoporosis blog, and the best way to prevent fragility fractures (broken bones due to the presence of osteoporosis) is not to fall in the first place.
If you can stand on one leg without pain, then start doing single-leg standing exercises. Improved balance is proven to decrease the likelihood of falling.
Now I don’t take time out of my busy day to stop and do single-leg standing exercises. I prefer to multi-task and do them when I’m waiting on the microwave or when I’m brushing my teeth. I do them stealth-like when I’m actually standing in a line, or filling my car with gas. I’m an expert single-leg stander!
Watch where you’re going! Just make it a habit.
Assess your environment for uneven surfaces and dangerous obstacles. Hold on to handrails when you take stairs. Turn lights on or use flashlights at night when you get up to go to the bathroom. Train pets to stay out from underfoot. Sit down to put your pants on. Put mats on the floor of your shower. Don’t wear socks on slippery floors. Pick up after yourself. Don’t leave things sitting on the floor where they might later cause you to trip and fall.
Use walking sticks or a cane if needed. More points of contact with the floor decreases the likelihood of falling. That’s why horses don’t fall down.