I have fallen. What now?

No matter how much we prepare, falls are something that can happen at any time and at any age. Falls do tend to occur as we get older. Balance, strength, and reaction time begin to fade as we age. Prevention is the best course of action but the question is, what do we do after we fall and no one is around to help?

After a fall, many thoughts will be running through your head and the adrenaline will be pumping. The first step is to take a deep breathe and make a self assessment. Some of the questions that should be asked are:

How is your head?

Do you have a headache?

Do you have any dizziness?

Do you see any injury to your body?

Where are you?

How did you fall?

Do you have access to a phone or other alert device?

The goal is to get access to a phone and alert a family member, friend, or EMS as quickly as possible. As long has no red flags are found, it is time to begin moving. Start by moving your fingers and toes followed by the wrists and ankles. Progressively make your way through your arms and legs until you get to your core and neck. Is everything moving properly without pain? If the answer is yes, it is time to get back to your feet.

Multiple patterns are available for use to return to your feet. One of the best methods is the following:

  1. Roll to your belly

Momentum can be used when positioned on your back by swinging both arms, head, and torso to roll onto your belly

  1. Position yourself in quadruped (on your knees and hands)

Inch your legs under your body and push up with your arms. If the strength is not present to perform this action, crawl to couch, step, or other sturdy elevated object to help put pressure on

  1. Achieve half kneeling

Put the strong leg forward into a half kneeling position. Pressure can be placed on the sturdy object found in the step before to clear the leg.

  1. Return to standing

Use the strong leg to push up along with both arms on either the leg or the sturdy object to return to standing. If the sturdy object is a chair of some sort, you can slide up onto the chair first to achieve a safer position.

carA skilled therapist can display the various techniques to return to standing and help an individual practice the skills required to return to their feet in different settings. A full falls risk assessment would be performed along with education on falls prevention to complete a full program to teach the necessary skills to prevent falls and then recover from them.

Posted in: Physical Therapy

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