Falling is an unfortunate and often unexpected event that can lead to serious injuries and long-term consequences. Knowing how to fall properly can make a significant difference in minimizing injuries. Whether it’s a forward stumble, a sideways slip, or a sudden backward trip, understanding what to do in the moment can help protect your body from further harm.
The First Rule of Falling Safely
First rule of falling down is to relax! When you begin to fall, you have a tendency to panic and tense up. Don’t try to stop the fall because there is a much greater risk of breaking bones under this type of pressure.
The goal is to spread the impact of the fall over as much of your body as possible, using more cushioned areas such as your butt and thighs.
Once you fall, don’t get right up. Falling down hurts both our bodies and our pride. Also, the adrenaline surges through our bodies making us think we are not hurt and we tend to want immediately get up. Instead, take a few minutes to asses any cuts, bumps and even possible breaks to help reduce your risk of further injury.
Here’s some essential do’s and don’ts to remember:
The Forward Fall:
✅ Try to protect your head. Bend your knees and angle them to one side and tuck your chin to your chest, keeping your head tilted away from the ground as you fall. Aim to land on the outside of your thought. As soon as you hit the ground, keep the movement going as you roll onto the side of your torso and upper back. Think about curling your body as you roll.
🚫 Don’t try to break your fall with your hands. Falling onto an outstretched hand is the most common cause of wrist fractures in people over 50. Keeping your elbows and knees slightly bent will help your body absorb the impact more effectively.
The Backward Fall:
✅ Try to stumble backward which is something we tend to naturally do when we are losing our balance. As you do, tuck your chin to your chest to your chest to shield your head from direct impact. Bend your knees into a deep squat so you land on your butt then round your spine and roll onto your back and shoulders. Keep your arms by your side as much as possible to avoid further harm.
🚫 Don’t look up or extend your next which will likely cause your head to the ground first. Don’t try and stick your arms out behind you to catch yourself as that will like result in a broken wrist or arm.
The Sideways Fall
✅ Try and bend your knees, tuck your chin in and keep your head lifted. If possible, turn your head to the side, tucking your chin towards your shoulder, to avoid hitting the ground head-on. Similar to forward falls, attempt to roll with the momentum to distribute the impact. Keep your arms close to your chest. Allow your body to go limp and collapse onto the outside of your bottom thigh. then roll onto your torso and upper back.
🚫 Don’t fall on the bony part of your hip which is how hip fractures happen. Again, try not to use your arms to break your fall which can easily break your shoulder, elbow or wrist. Try to stay relaxed and go with the flow of the fall.
Falling down is a situation we all want to avoid, but accidents happen. By adhering to the do’s and don’ts of falling, you can improve your chances of minimizing injuries.