How closely do you listen to your body? Do you wait to make doctor appointments, hoping things will improve?
I’ve discovered cracking a hip is not the only serious injury, your hip can sustain.
Here I sat, a week after my fall. Reading about instinct, and ignoring mine.
After my fall last month, I was so relieved the X-ray showed no break in my hip, I didn’t check Web MD. Usually, the hypochondriac in me scares the crap out of myself, reading online medical sites. But this time, I just ignored it and waited to heal. Dumb move. Really dumb.
I assumed I was going to be fine. The warning signs were all there, but I chose to ignore them.
After 4 weeks of aching, popping in the joint and shooting pain, I decided to see my internist. She knew what was wrong immediately. My symptoms were text-book for a Labral Tear. She said I should have seen her within a week of my fall.
It turns out, falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults.
How big is the problem?
- More than 1.6 million adults go to emergency rooms for fall related injuries every year.
- One in three adults over 65, fall each year.
- Less than half the people who fall, talk to their doctors about it.
- Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.
That’s a big problem.
Ways to lower your risk of falling
- Exercise regularly and focus on increasing leg strength.
- Work on improving your balance. Strengthening your core muscles help with balance, as does Yoga, Ballet and Tai Chi.
- Have your eyes examined yearly, and make sure your glasses have up to date RX lenses.
- Wear sensible shoes. Rubber soles are great for cushioning, but can also catch on floors, and stop you short. Causing you to lurch forward.
- Make sure the lighting in your home is bright enough to see well. Especially in stairwells.
- Use non slip mats in your tub and shower.
- Make sure you are getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D to keep your bones healthy.
- Keep electrical cords out-of-the-way and move low obstacles you could trip over.
None of these would have helped with my fall. I tripped over uneven asphalt, the county should have repaired. But I’m implementing them to protect us for the future.
I’m now scheduled for an MRI and set me up for physical therapy, which I should have started right after my fall.
I find it interesting that my younger self was a persistent patient advocate for my melanoma. But my 59-year-old self put her head in the sand and ignored my body’s warning signs.
I waited to get it properly examined, and I shouldn’t have.
Do you wait to go to the doctor?