Falls and Related Injuries
Preventive measures include:
- staying in when it is rainy or icy outside
- having regular vision screening check-ups for correct eyeglasses
- using separate reading glasses and other regular glasses if bifocals make it difficult to see the floor
- being cautious when walking on wet floors
- wearing good foot support when walking
- being aware that new shoes are slippery and crepe- soled shoes can cause the toe to catch
- having foot pain problems corrected
- keeping toenails trimmed and feet healthy for good balance
A good way to tell if a part of the body has been injured in a fall is to compare it with an uninjured part. For example, compare the injured leg with the uninjured leg. Do they look and feel the same? Do they move the same way?
When you suspect a broken bone, follow these steps:
- If the person cannot move or use the injured limb, keep it from moving. Do not straighten a deformed arm or leg. Splint an injury in the position you find it.
- Support the injured part above and below the site of the injury by using folded towels, blankets, pillows, or magazines.
- If the person is face down, roll him over with the “log rolling” technique (see illustration). If you have no one to help you and the victim is breathing adequately, leave the person in the same position.
- If the person does not complain of neck pain but is feeling sick to the stomach, turn the person on one side.
- If the person complains of neck pain, keep his neck steady by putting a few pillows on either side of his head. Keep the head flat.
- Place a piece of cloth on the injury site and apply ice over the cloth.
- Keep the person warm with a blanket and make the person as comfortable as possible.
- Make a splint with cardboard or rolled-up newspaper.
NOTE If an arm or shoulder is splinted, you might consider transporting the person by car. For neck, hip, thigh, back, and pelvic injuries, use an ambulance because the person needs to lie flat.