While safety measures can prevent many falls, sometimes, this type of incident occurs despite our best efforts. For example, you may slip on a wet supermarket floor, trip on a broken sidewalk or miss your footing on an icy step.
If you find yourself falling, you may be able to protect yourself from serious injury with these actions.
Tuck your head
A traumatic brain injury can be debilitating if you have a bad fall, which AARP reports is the most common cause of TBI. Shield your head in this situation by tucking your chin toward your chest, or turn your head to the side and shield it with your arms if you fall face-first. If you fall backward, put your arms behind your head.
Relax your body
Rather than stiffening your elbows and knees, keep them bent when you fall. Locked joints can result in a broken wrist or elbow if you try to catch yourself with your hands. A soft part of the body like the thighs or rear end can better absorb the impact of the fall.
Plan your landing
If you fall outdoors, try to direct your body toward grass rather than concrete or another hard surface. Inside, carpet will create a softer landing than the wood or tile floor. When possible, attempt to fall sideways rather than forward or backward. If you have room to roll after you land, this momentum will reduce the impact absorbed by your body.
Even if you think you have avoided injury, be aware of bruises or bumps that may arise in the days after a fall. If you do hit your head, seek medical attention right away. This is especially important for individuals who take blood thinners for high blood pressure, which can cause a bleeding emergency with this type of injury.
Talk to your doctor if you take medications that make you feel dizzy. These drugs can increase your risk for a fall.