Many older people fear hip fractures — and with good reason. Of all types of fractures, hip fractures have the most significant impact on the quality of life. An alarming 20–25% of people over age 50 who break a hip will die within a year.
A hip fracture usually occurs when a persons fall from a standing position, with the hip taking the impact of the fall, although less traumatic falls also can cause hip fractures According to Johns Hopkins University, 90% of hip fractures are the result of a fall.
Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of falling:
First, make sure that your floors are clear of any obstacles such as area rugs or extension cords.
Hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms should be well lit (especially at night).
Grab bars in showers and bathtubs are highly recommended.
Be sure that your eyeglasses or contact lens prescriptions are up to date.
Review your medications with your doctor; some medications can increase the risk of falls by impairing balance and alertness.
In some cases, lightly padded hip protectors may be recommended; these can reduce the risk of a hip fracture in the case of a fall.
Another way to reduce the risk of falls is to improve your muscle strength through resistance training and your balance through yoga or tai chi exercises. Check with a physical therapist or certified trainer to get recommendations that are appropriate and safe for you.
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