• Neha Dewan

November is Fall Prevention Month!

Outdoor Fall Prevention - Stay safe while walking or hiking on trails!

Falling outdoors is not uncommon. People often slip, trip or fall down on the trails. Sometimes, consequences are minor while for others it can be fatal.

Some Important Facts about Outdoor Falls!

Common Risk Factors

Specifically while walking or hiking on trails, uneven walkways, a lack of railings to hold, icy or wet conditions, poor footwear, tree branches or leaf covered slippery hidden roots, loose gravel, and other elements such as decreased balance and mobility increase the risk of outdoor falls.

Take the Right Steps to Prevent Outdoor Falls and Stay Physically Active:

  • First and foremost: Be aware of your surroundings – always.

  • Watch your step. Be alert for slippery areas, uneven sidewalks and take your time to avoid tripping. Low-hanging branches, fallen tree branches, other obstacles and variable terrain make walking unsafe.

  • If you feel unsteady, use a cane or walker for stability, especially if your health care provider recommends it.

  • Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled, or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles and ankle support that fully stabilize your feet. Visit https://ratemytreads.com/ to choose the right slip resistant shoes.

  • Check the height of curbs before stepping up or down. Take note of curb cuts for bike or wheelchair access as the slope could cause a fall otherwise.

  • In extreme conditions, use gaiters to prevent sand and gravel from entering your boots.

  • Leaves can hide slippery areas underneath such as steps, decks, porches and sidewalks. Log crossings can be especially dangerous. Find alternate routes across streams.

  • Don’t grab onto tree branches or bushes on walkways.

  • Use hand rails to go up and down steps on a trail or otherwise.

  • When sidewalks are slippery, consider taking a detour through the grass, but only if it’s dry.

  • Carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp on predawn/evening walks or hikes you take.

Accessible Trails

To find more about wheelchair accessible trails or parks, please visit:

If you have any suggestions for preventing outdoor falls, please feel free to share with us!

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