Why Do I Fall

People fall over for all sorts of reasons – but when you are older and fall, we change the terminology  –  it is no longer “I fell over”,  it becomes, “I had a fall”. People ask … “have you ‘had a fall’ in the last year?” and so on…. and suddenly, you feel your age.

But is it really any different to when you fell when you were younger?  The answer to that question is no… and yes.

No, because you are falling for the same reasons people always fall -you tripped on something, you slipped on a wet floor, you didn’t see an obstacle, you weren’t concentrating on where you were going, etc. That is, there is always a reason for why people fall. 

Yes, because there are a few more reasons for falling when you are older – painful joints, weakness in the legs and reduced balance to name a few. It is also different now because when you fall, it can be harder to get up again, and the results can be far more catastrophic. Bones can break more easily if they are weak, and you can become terribly fearful of falling again. 

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to reduce your chances of falling… and to minimize the negative effects if you do fall.

This site is to help you understand it all … and introduce you to the SAS MAT to help you do something about it… 

reasons people give for falling

and possible solutions

Fall Type Possible Causes Solutions
Tripped on an uneven terrain - tree root, uneven footpath.
  • Not lifting the feet enough to clear the ground - poor walking technique &/or reduced leg strength
  • Distracted
  • Practice heel toe walking- ensuring the heel hits the ground first with every step
  • Strengthen legs
  • Concentrate when walking
Slipped on a wet floor.
  • Slippery floor +/-
  • Poor balance and poor reaction times
  • Ensure clean dry floors
  • Balance and strengthening exercises to improve reaction times
Tripped over an obstacle in walkway.
  • Unexpected obstacle
  • Poor balance and poor reaction times
  • Keep walkways clear
  • Balance and strengthening exercises to improve reaction times
Misjudged a step/depth/width etc .
  • Poor vision
  • Multi lens glasses
  • Poor lighting
  • Distracted
  • Visit optometrist - consider a change to single lens glasses
  • Avoid distraction on steps and stairs
  • Address lighting issues
Felt faint/passed out.
  • Medical issue such as low blood pressure or medication side effect
  • Dehydration
  • Visit GP
  • Maintain hydration
  • Medication check at pharmacy
Didn't see an obstacle at all.
  • Impaired vision
  • Poor lighting
  • Distracted
  • Visit optometrist
  • Address lighting issues
  • Avoid distractions
Something crashed into me.
  • Impaired vision
  • Unlucky
  • Distracted
  • Visit optometrist
  • Avoid multitasking while mobilising
  • maintain awareness of surroundings
Knees/hips/ankles gave way due to pain or weakness.
  • Muscle weakness and pain
  • Joint pain in hips or knees
  • Leg strengthening exercises
  • Visit physiotherapist for specific treatment
  • discuss pain management with GP or pharmacist
Lost balance.
  • Poor balance
  • Balance and strengthening exercises
Tripped over own feet/shoes
  • Poorly fitting or unsuitable shoes
  • Painful feet altering walking pattern
  • Visit podiatrist
  • Maintain foot health
  • Buy appropriate shoes
Fell when rushing to the bathroom
  • continence issues
  • poor planning
  • Ensure good diet and adequate hydation to avoid constipation
  • Visit GP
  • Visit continence specialist for assessment and treatment