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What is the Best Way to Fall to avoid injury?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Falls Are Serious and Costly.

The following statistics were obtained from the CDC website:

  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury1-5

  • Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.6

  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.6

  • Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.7

  • More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling,8

  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).10

  • In 2015, the total medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion.11 Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.11

Even with lots of safety precautions and fall prevention strategies falls happen. Preparing and knowing how to fall can save a life! In the unfortunate event you find yourself falling try to implement these strategies to minimize the risk of serious injury.

1. Protect your head. The most important body part that you need to protect in a fall is your head. Head injuries can be very serious, even deadly. Make sure you prioritize protecting your head as you fall by properly positioning it.

  • Tuck your chin down, lowering your head.

  • If falling, face first, turn your head to the side.

  • Twist your shoulder to protect your head

  • Bring your arms up to head level for additional protection. Put them in front of your head if falling forwards or behind your head if falling backwards.

If you are taking anticoagulants or blood thinners and fall and hit your head, this may result in a dangerous and life-threatening bleed inside your skull. Call your doctor, who may tell you to go to the hospital for a CT scan.

2. Turn as you fall. If you are falling either straight forward or straight backwards, try to turn your body so you land on your side.

  • Falling directly on your back can cause serious injury to it. A frontal fall can cause damage to the head, face, and arms.

  • By landing on your side, you can reduce the chance of injury from high distances (for example, one way vertical paths).

  • Swing your arms to help the direction change

  • Keep your knees bent and feet down.

3. Lean into the fall – this gives you some control over the direction

4. Aim for grass, dirt or open areas rather than concrete

5. Fall on the soft, fleshy places like your butt or thighs- they have more protection and are closer to the ground.

6. Aim away from other people or objects that can cause puncture wounds

7. Keep arms and legs bent.

  • It may be tempting to try and catch yourself fully as you fall with your arms. However, landing with your arms straight out and absorbing the full force of the fall with them can cause injury.

  • Try keeping both arms and legs slightly bent as you fall.

  • Landing fully on your arms to catch yourself can break both your wrists and arms.

8. Stay loose.

· Tensing up during a fall can increase the chances of sustaining an injury.

  • The tension in your body won’t allow for the absorption of force from the fall.

  • Instead of spreading the impact out over a flexible body, the parts that were kept taught are more likely to break instead of going with the motion.