Medicare defines a fall as “an unintentional change of position to a lower level.” Many factors contribute to increasing the odds of having a fall. Some are health based (intrinsic) risks including: neuropathy in the feet, weakness in the legs and core, poor flexibility especially in ankles/knees/hips, chronic illness, vision problems, rapid loss of blood pressure when changing positions, and some medications. Environmental (extrinsic) risk factors include: Loose rugs or uneven ground (tripping hazards), dogs pulling on a leash or being pushed (unexpected force in one direction), and icy conditions (slipping, low friction with the ground). All these factors contribute to a body experiencing an “unintentional change of position to a lower level.” But to answer the question, “why do we fall” requires a look at how our body reacts, or fails to react, to a specific set of circumstances.
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