Own the Bone: How to prevent the first fall

Published: Jan. 9, 2017 at 6:18 PM EST
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We introduced you to the Own the Bone program at LewisGale a couple of weeks ago, and now we’re looking into how to prevent falls.

One of the big components of this program is taking aim at preventing fractures from happening. And with this wintry weather we’ve had the last several days, many of us may step outside, lose our balance a bit, even slip and fall.

But there are some techniques to try to prevent these kinds of falls from happening.

Dr. James Leipzig is working with the American Orthopedic Association to prevent people who suffer from osteoporosis from suffering from a second bone fracture.

“Most fractures are result of a fall, so if we can prevent a fall, we can prevent most of the fractures,” said Dr. Leipzig, a spine surgeon at LewisGale.

Doctors recommend people most at risk, seniors, or people with osteoporosis, ask for a referral to a physical therapist to work on balance therapy.

Fall prevention exercises, like using a rocker-board, are things therapists can do with you. But you can actually do things right at home that can help prevent falls as well.

“Removing the hazards that cause falls, so a lot of that is throw rugs, extension cords, making sure your hallways are well lit so you’re not running into obstacles or objects,” said Dr. Elise Manning, Manager of Therapy Services at LewisGale said.

She recommends people who use walkers keep them close.

Here’s something you may not think about: take your socks off when you’re home. They can cause you to slip and fall too.

And as for the weather?

“Just making sure common sense type stuff, salting your walkways, making sure that you can potentially see some of the ice that’s out there,” said Dr. Manning.

LewisGale saw around 10 people come in for fall related injuries because of the weather.

Over at Carilion, the say the Emergency Department didn’t see any type of spike in injuries, but on average, Emergency Departments see 2.5 million people for fall injuries.

Dr. Leipzig actually just tells people to stay inside when the weather is like this, avoid the ice all together.