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Any woman over the age of 40 who falls from the height of her own body–in other words, doesn’t get bucked from a horse or fall off a ladder–and suffers a wrist, shoulder or hip fracture, has a fragility fracture until proven otherwise. With the exception of spinal compression fractures, the only way to sustain fragility fractures is to fall down. This is a follow-up to my osteoporosis blog, and the best way to prevent fragility fractures (broken bones due to the presence of osteoporosis) is not to fall in the first place.  

If you can stand on one leg without pain, then start doing single-leg standing exercises. Improved balance is proven to decrease the likelihood of falling.

Now I don’t take time out of my busy day to stop and do single-leg standing exercises. I prefer to multi-task and do them when I’m waiting on the microwave or when I’m brushing my teeth. I do them stealth-like when I’m actually standing in a line, or filling my car with gas. I’m an expert single-leg stander!

Watch where you’re going! Just make it a habit.

Assess your environment for uneven surfaces and dangerous obstacles. Hold on to handrails when you take stairs. Turn lights on or use flashlights at night when you get up to go to the bathroom. Train pets to stay out from underfoot. Sit down to put your pants on. Put mats on the floor of your shower. Don’t wear socks on slippery floors. Pick up after yourself. Don’t leave things sitting on the floor where they might later cause you to trip and fall.

Use walking sticks or a cane if needed. More points of contact with the floor decreases the likelihood of falling. That’s why horses don’t fall down.


  • Maria Stockton May 1, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks for ALL the great advice, Dr Bergin

  • 1010ParkPlace May 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I grabbed ahold of a big tree branch as I backed myself out of a low growing pitisporum thicket a few weeks ago. The branch turned out to be dead, snapped off in my hand and I went flying backwards, landing on my butt. I was fine, but it made me think twice about what I grab to hold on to. Brenda

  • Beth Havey May 1, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I fell off my bike once, but luckily on grass. I walk at least 4 times a week, 2-3 miles. And YES, the one
    leg standing thing–I need to work on that more. THANKS.

  • Haralee May 1, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Great tips. I used to stand flamingo style a lot when I was younger, I will start up again. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Judi May 3, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you so much for reminding me of the things I need to do and know to stay safe. I must start the flamingo again. I have bad osteoporosis and have been lucky so far, but it is essential to do all the things you recommended. Thanks again.

  • Esther Zimmer May 5, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Ever since I read this, I’ve been standing on one leg whenever I can! I’m only in my early 40s still, but I’m conscious that the care I take now and the habits I develop going forward will pay off later in life. My husband thinks I’m being a bit premature, but I predict I’ll be running circles around him in future! Esther xx

  • Judy Miller May 6, 2017 at 9:18 am

    That is all correct. I fell twice and broke a whole bunch of things. Had surgery. More fun than a person deserves. Then I was squatting down and turned my body and suddenly felt the pain of a torn meniscus and more surgery. Joined a gym in hopes of preventing falls.

  • Sheila Rheaume May 19, 2017 at 9:13 am

    One word of caution about using rubber mats of any kind in shower or tub: the mats with suction cups on the bottom. over time, become soap encrusted. They can make the mat as slick as glass. So I advise never to use them. Apply permanent strips to those surfaces instead.
    (A friend of mine fell on one of those soapy mats and broke her shoulder, so please heed.)

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