Here’s a story for you all! I was walking my 17-year-old dog Junior the other day and saw another dog walker fall flat on his face! Ooops! After helping him and ensuring he’s okay, I noticed that he had both of his legs! It reminded me that everyone falls, regardless of the number of their legs! Lower-extremity amputees fall just like the rest of us! It’s not a question of if, but when! So let’s explore some of the ups and downs of falling!
Junior, my 17-year-old Maltese!
Well, there are several ways to prevent falls! First of all, check your work environment, your home or other places that you frequently visit for potential trip hazards. These might include small things in the floors, like the transition between tile and carpet or exposed wires. Pets. (That’s right, I’m looking at you, Junior. It’s going to be me or you.) And of course little rugs. They look great and can really “tie the room together,” but you could end up on the floor along with the rug. Also, small changes in the hardness of the sole of your shoe, such as switching from sneakers to dress shoes, in addition to increasing your height, can affect the stability of a prosthetic knee.
Me at home with Junior!
So when inevitable happens and you end up falling, what can I do to limit injury to my body and damage to my prosthesis (or the floor from the prosthesis, HAHA)! Apparently, there is a good way and a bad way to fall. The bad way is to tense up and go down stiff as a board. It is not easy to relax when you see impending doom, trust me, I know. However, the good way to fall is to remain flexible, bend at the joints, and try to protect vulnerable body parts. It’s best to have multiple points of impact, like a car. Sometimes a physician will recommend falling instructions specific to you, and in that case it’s best to follow their advice! But for the rest of us, your arms can serve as a bumper, leaving your head and hips to suffer less impact.
My most recent injury from falling. It could have been worse!
What to do after the fall! If anyone is nearby, they will more than likely want to help you up. This is natural. But, if you’ve dislocated a joint, or worse, improper help may make things worse. Politely inform them that their help is wanted and appreciated but it’s best to assess the situation before getting up. If your leg won’t support you, or if you’re dizzy, you could quickly be right back where you started from. Take a deep breath, and wait a minute. If there is someone waiting to help you, ask them if they see anything out of the ordinary, such as a wound or bleeding.
The moral of the story is that falls will happen (with legs, one leg or no legs!), but what you do to prevent one, how you react during the fall or what you do afterwards can be the difference between a minor and a serious injury. It’s all up to you!