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Good advice to help avoid falling

“I was tripping and falling, then realised I was putting my toes down first and catching on a step, or grass and so on.”

QUESTION:

Thank you for the excellent article on falls (The Advertiser, 5/4/14). I was tripping and falling, then realised I was putting my toes down first and catching on a step, or grass and so on. I decided to put my heel down first and roll to the toes. It took about a month to get really into the habit.

I haven’t fallen for a long time and every so often remind myself: ‘Heel first”. I shared this with several people.

All benefited and realised it was their problem, too.

ANSWER:

The natural walking pattern does involve heel strike first, and physiotherapists sometimes teach this, if it has been identified as an issue in people who have tripped. Tripping accounts for up to 53 per cent of falls in older people.

The foot catches on the ground or strikes an object while it is swinging through.

Clearance between the foot and the ground, usually 10-20mm, can be decreased for a number of reasons, including fatigue.

Tripping can also be the result of misjudging the height of an object, such as a tree root or step. Multifocal glasses can distort depth perception.

If you are concerned, ask your GP for a referral to a falls assessment clinic. For the large range of falls prevention services, visit www.fallssa.com.au or call 1300 0 32557 (1300 0 FALLS).

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