Orthopedic Injury Prevention in the Elderly

As the musculoskeletal system weakens with age, our bone mineral is reduced, causing orthopedic injuries. About thirty percent of hospital visits are of elderly people suffering from a variety of these types of injuries. These often include fractures of the hip, shoulder, pelvis, and wrist, head injuries, and soft tissue injuries and are often caused by a fall. Broken ankles and shoulder dislocations are also common when someone falls. Falls can occur due to impaired vision and balance, as well as muscle weakness and low blood pressure. There are many ways to reduce the risk of falling at home:

  • Remove anything that could cause you to trip or slip while walking. Tripping on clutter, small furniture, pet bowls, electrical or phone cords, or other things can cause you to fall.
  • Arrange furniture to give you plenty of room to walk freely.
  • Be sure that carpets are secured to the floor and stairs. Remove throw rugs, and only use non-slip rugs, or attach rugs to the floor with double-sided tape.
  • Try to avoid wet floors.
  • Be careful when walking outdoors, and avoid going out alone on ice or snow.
  • Poor lighting — inside and outdoors — can increase your risk of falls. Make sure you have enough lighting in each room, at entrances, and on outdoor walkways.
  • Have handrails installed on both sides of stairs and walkways. If you must carry something while walking up or down stairs, hold the item in one hand and use the handrail with the other.
  • Properly placed grab bars in your tub and shower, and next to the toilet, to help you avoid falls.

If a fall does occur, there are a number of decisions you will need to make to hasten the healing process. Dr. Carney and his staff are highly trained to provide the highest quality of care and can help you make the choices that will most benefit you. Contact our office today at 201-444-4447 to schedule a consultation.

Resources: NIHSeniorHealth.gov