Preventing Falls: Moving Safely Outside

Woman stepping off curb with walker.Moving safely outside your home can be a challenge. Take care when walking up and down stairs and curbs. And be sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes and pay attention to where you step. Here are more tips to keep you from falling.

Using curbs and stairs

Curbs, steps, or uneven pavement can trip you. Take care when near them:

  • Check the height of a curb before stepping up or down. Be careful with uneven and cut-out sections of curbs.

  • Don't rush when crossing the street. Watch for changes in pavement height.

  • On stairs, grasp the handrail and take one step at a time. If you ever feel dizzy on stairs, sit down until you feel better.

Wearing shoes that keep you safe

When you shop for shoes, keep these things in mind:

  • Choose shoes with rubber or nonskid soles. Athletic shoes are a good choice.

  • Choose flats or shoes with low heels. Avoid high heels or platforms.

  • All footwear should be sturdy and well-fitting. Don't wear flip-flops or backless shoes or slippers.

  • Don't walk around in stocking feet. Shoes are your safest bet, even when indoors. If you like, keep a pair of shoes just for indoors.

Moving objects from place to place

Carrying objects can be hard, especially if you use a cane or walker. These tips can make it easier:

  • Use a rolling cart to carry things like groceries.

  • Wear clothes with large pockets for carrying small objects or wear a fanny pack.

  • Divide large loads into smaller loads. That way, you can always keep 1 hand free for grasping railings.

  • Don't carry objects that block your view. That's a sure way to trip.