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Preventing Falls

Bone at the Breaking Point!

A healthy bone image

Bone is living tissue, and the inside of a healthy bone normally looks like a honeycomb. Every day, the body breaks down old bone and puts new bone in its place. As we get older, we break down more bone than we put back.

A bone with osteoporosis

With osteoporosis, the spaces in the honeycomb become larger, reflecting the loss of bone. Bones that become weaker are more likely to break. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the wrist, spine, and hip.
Photos: NIHSeniorHealth

Men and women with osteoporosis need to take care not to fall down. Falls can break bones. Some reasons people fall are:

  • Poor vision
  • Poor balance
  • Certain diseases that affect how you walk
  • Some types of medicine, such as sleeping pills

Some tips to help prevent falls outdoors are:

  • Use a cane or walker
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes so you don't slip
  • Walk on grass when sidewalks are slippery
  • In winter, put salt or kitty litter on icy sidewalks

To prevent falls indoors:

  • Keep rooms, especially floors, free of clutter
  • Use plastic or carpet runners on slippery floors
  • Wear low-heeled shoes
  • Do not walk in socks, stockings, or slippers
  • Be sure carpets and area rugs have skid-proof backs or are tacked to the floor
  • Be sure stairs are well lit and have handrails on both sides
  • Put grab bars on bathroom walls near the tub, shower, and toilet
  • Use a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub
  • Keep a flashlight next to your bed
NIHSeniorHealth video on osteoporosis

Free NIH Videos About Osteoporosis

The NIHSeniorHealth Web site features five brief, informative videos that discuss osteoporosis risk factors, coping strategies, exercise, and more. Go to the Web site below, and click on Osteoporosis.

Winter 2011 Issue: Volume 5 Number 4 Page 14