By Justin Yeoh, Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Medicine Consultant
For those with reduced mobility, the winter and colder months can be a worrying and stressful time, as the risk of experiencing a slip, trip or fall increases. As well as the risk of sustaining a debilitating injury, the worry of falls can have a big impact on confidence levels, with some individuals limiting their daily activity to reduce their risk.
While the weather remains cold, a few small changes to your routine can help reduce your risk of falling and improve your confidence in your surroundings and your body’s ability. Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Medicine Consultant, Justin Yeoh who consults at our centre in Surrey, shares his top 10 simple tips to reduce falls if you have reduced or low mobility.
1. Stand up slowly
Getting up too quickly can cause a quick drop in blood pressure that may result in being unsteady on your feet. Take it slowly and ensure you have adequate support.
2. Good posture
Stand up straight with your shoulders even, spine neutral and abdominal muscles pulled in. This centres your weight over your feet, keeping you well balanced.
3. Pay attention when you walk
Minimise your distractions when walking for example do not use your mobile phone. Wait to send a message or hold conversations until you are sitting.
4. Invest in good footwear
Wear well-fitting shoes with low heels that are sturdy as well as offer comfort, support and good traction.
5. Check your hearing
As you get older you might find your hearing is not as good as it used to be. A problem with your ears can severely affect your balance. The problem may be something easily treated, like ear wax, an infection, or you may require a hearing aid.
6. Check your vision
Our eyesight changes with age and can cause loss of balance, poor coordination and result in a trip. Get your vision or glasses checked regularly, at least every 2 years.
7. Eat well
It is important to eat a well-balanced diet to ensure you get enough energy and keep up your strength.
8. Keep hydrated
As well as having a good diet, you should make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol). If you don’t drink enough it is likely that you will start to feel light-headed and that can lead to a fall.
10. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise plan
Get expert advice from your doctor to ensure any exercise plan you are keen to start is safe. This is particularly true if you have been feeling dizzy or have a chronic health condition like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma. The best way to ensure you are exercising safely is to consult your doctor.
If you experience a slip, trip or fall, it is recommended that you seek medical treatment from a healthcare professional. Whether you have sustained an injury or not, your doctor will carry out a full check-up to better understand why it may have happened and provide further advice on minimising any risk going forward.
If you sustain a more severe injury from a fall, you may require a diagnostic scan to diagnose the problem, followed by further treatment such as rehabilitation or pain management.
About Justin Yeoh
Justin is a highly experienced Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Medicine Consultant. In addition to holding regular clinics at Prime Health in Surrey, Justin has worked at several Premier League football clubs and is currently Club Doctor at Fulham FC. For more information about Justin, or to book an appointment with him, please call 01932 504 999.