Slips, trips and falls are second only to automobile accidents in causing personal injury, but are among the easiest hazards to correct.
Slips occur when there is too little friction between a person’s feet and the walking surface and there are many contributing factors to slipping. Ice, oil, water and other slippery substances are probably the most obvious causes, but slick flooring material or improper footwear can contribute to a slip as well.
Trips occur when a person’s foot contacts an object and they are thrown off balance. The main cause of tripping is an obstruction in the walkway, but poor lighting and uneven walking surfaces can also be causes.
Falls can be caused by a number of things. Slips and trips can obviously result in a fall, but falls occur for other reasons as well. And falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the US, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency room.
The risk of falling increases, as adults grow older. In fact, adults 55 and older are more prone to becoming victims of falls and the resulting injuries can diminish the ability to lead active, independent lives. However, falls are not an inevitable part of life.
Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention
Many slips, trips and falls can be prevented by making simple personal and lifestyle changes.
Simple changes in lighting, housekeeping and furniture arrangement can alleviate the risk of slips, trips and falls.
- Make sure all rooms are well lit.
- Add lighting to dark areas and install night-lights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways.
- Arrange furniture so there are clear pathways.
- Make sure pathways are clear and clutter free
- Keep electrical and telephone cords out of walkways.
- Remove area rugs or ensure they are secured with non-slip pads.
Regular physical activity is the first line of defense against falls and fractures. Physical activity strengthens muscles and increases flexibility and balance.
- Mild weight-bearing exercise such as walking, climbing stairs and water workouts, may help slow bone loss and increase muscle strength. Increasing bone strength, especially in the lower body, can prevent fractures if a fall occurs.
- Water aerobics and tai chi can help prevent falls by improving balance and control, by using slow, flowing movements that relax and coordinate the mind and body.
- Participating in group and community exercise programs will help increase flexibility, strength, balance and coordination. Of course, these kinds of exercises can also be done at home.
Simple changes to shoes can also be helpful in the prevention of falls.
- Wear properly fitting shoes. Here are some pointers on how to ensure a good fit.
- Sizes can vary by style and brand. Therefore it’s best to shop a range of sizes to ensure a good fit.
- Measure feet on a regular basis and measure both feet since feet change as a person ages and one foot is typically longer and/or wider than the other. Always fit the larger foot first.
- Shoes should be as wide as and longer than the feet—with extra space of 3/8” to 1/2″ beyond the longest toe.
- Fit shoes later in the day, since feet swell throughout the day and can be affected by certain medical conditions.
- Have shoes fitted with the socks or hosiery that will be worn with those shoes.
- Walk around in the shoes to ensure a comfortable fit—before purchasing them.
- Follow these additional tips on what to look for in footwear and how to care for shoes.
- Replace older or poorly fitting shoes and slippers—especially those that are stretched out, too loose or have worn outsoles.
- Try not to wear the same shoes every day. It’s tempting to always throw on the trusty ‘favorites’, but alternating shoes can help keep feet limber. It also helps shoes to last longer and keep key features in good shape. Plus it’s good to air out shoes every other day to avoid bad odors.
- Look for outsoles that provide good traction, especially when walking or working on slippery surfaces. Many styles include slip-resistant outsoles designed to provide extra traction on specific surfaces.
- For those who feel unstable on their feet, choosing shoes with wider outsoles, especially in the heel and forefoot areas, is a great option. This will help provide a broad base of support and assist in maintaining a stronger center of gravity.
- Shoes with roomier toe boxes can also help in ensuring stability and proper gait.
Some Suggested Propét Footwear Styles
- All styles below feature Dri-Lex® linings and OrthoLite® insoles to provide anti-microbial protection, as well as rubber outsoles to provide exceptional traction and durable wear.
- Warner for men; Eden for women – These great athletic styles—in both tie and strap versions—provide a nice wide base of support, as well as the comfort and support you need to stay active and on your feet for years to come.
- Connelly for men; Miranda for women – Some great options with outdoor styling—also in both tie and strap versions—provide a wide base of support and the same comfort and support found in the Warner and Eden styles.
- These styles feature outsoles designed for slip resistance and exceptional stability, especially for those who spend long hours on their feet.
- Nancy, Tilda and Mya for women – All feature removable cushion gel inserts for all-day comfort, as well as specially designed outsoles for high grip, slip resistance, better traction and long wear.
- Maxigrip for men – This versatile style features a removable insole with cushion gel in heel for all day comfort plus a firm heel counter to help reduce foot fatigue. The specially designed outsoles for high grip, slip resistance, better traction and long wear.
Some simple and easy changes can help reduce the risk for slips, trips and falls and can ensure a healthy, active and independent lifestyle for years to come.