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Preventing Falls: Moving Safely Outside

Moving safely outside your home can be a challenge. Take care when walking up and down stairs and curbs. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes and pay attention to where you step. Here are more tips to keep you safe.

Using curbs and stairs

Woman stepping off curb with walker.
When stepping off a curb with a walker, lower the walker onto the street first, then step off the curb.

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.

  • Choose footwear that is sturdy and fits well. 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.

Tips when carrying objects

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 one hand free to grasp railings.

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

© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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