Osteoarthritis: Protect Yourself Against Slips and Falls
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of joint inflammation1. It is characterized by the degeneration or thinning of cartilage especially at the weight-bearing joints such as the spine, hips, knees, and feet. As we get older, osteoarthritis is inevitable due to the wear and tear of the cartilage. According to a study, 1 in 3 Malaysians over the age of 55 years old suffers from osteoarthritis2. However, this is not an old man’s disease! Osteoarthritis may also happen to the younger population due to overweight or sports injury.
Relationship Between Osteoarthritis & Falls
The symptoms of osteoarthritis such as stiffness, pain, tenderness, grating sensation, discomfort during activity, and limitation in movement, may interfere with our balance, stability, and mobility. These may increase the risk of falls and the likelihood to suffer from fracture or fall-related injury. Based on a study, those with arthritis are 2.5x more likely to fall as compared to those without arthritis.3 In fact, the risk to tumble is even higher with the increasing number of affected joints, especially in the lower limbs.4
How to Prevent Slips & Falls?
If you are having osteoarthritis, here are a few ways that you can apply to reduce the risk of falls.
Get a fall risk assessment from your doctor to investigate the factors which can contribute to the risk. Once you are acknowledged to the factors, you can take some steps to cope with them.
Review the side effects of all the medications that you are taking with your doctor or pharmacist. Switch to the alternative medications which does not make you feel drowsy, dizzy, or unsteady.
Remove floor hazards such as toys, wires, and loose carpets. Put stair treads and install handrails for your house stairways. Place non-slip mats and grab bars in the bathroom to prevent slipping on wet tiles.
Aim for an ideal body mass index (BMI) to reduce the burden at your weight-bearing joints. Eat a balanced clean diet and include physical activity in your lifestyle to maintain healthy body weight.
Movement helps, not hurts! Thus, engage with low impact physical activities such as walking, swimming, and yoga to strengthen muscles around your joints and improve balance.
Choose low-heeled and rubber-soled shoes instead of slippers, high heels, or leather-soled shoes.
Use mobility aids such as canes and walkers to provide a little boost to your balance and stability.
Joint health supplements such as crystalline glucosamine and hydrolysate collagen may help to improve joint health. These ingredients provide the building blocks to rebuild and repair the joint cartilage. Besides, they can help to strengthen the joints, thus restoring your balance, stability, and mobility. Know more about MEGA BiO-LiFE joint health supplements
Having osteoarthritis may put you at a higher risk of slipping and falling. The higher the number of affected joints, the greater the risk of falls. However, do not put this as an excuse to become less active, sedentary, or immobilized. Overcome the risk by applying the above suggestions to gain back your quality of life!
- Osteoarthritis (OA). (2020, July 27). Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm
- Mat, S., Jaafar, M. H., Ng, C. T., Sockalingam, S., Raja, J., Kamaruzzaman, S. B., . . . Tan, M. P. (2019). Ethnic differences in the prevalence, socioeconomic and health related risk factors of knee pain and osteoarthritis symptoms in older Malaysians. Plos One, 14(11).
- Barbour, K. E., Stevens, J. A., Helmick, C. G., Luo, Y. H., Murphy, L. B., Hootman, J. M., Theis, K., Anderson, L. A., Baker, N. A., Sugerman, D. E., & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2014). Falls and fall injuries among adults with arthritis–United States, 2012. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 63(17), 379–383.
- Doré, A. L., Golightly, Y. M., Mercer, V. S., Shi, X. A., Renner, J. B., Jordan, J. M., & Nelson, A. E. (2015). Lower-extremity osteoarthritis and the risk of falls in a community-based longitudinal study of adults with and without osteoarthritis. Arthritis care & research, 67(5), 633–639