Mind Your Step(s): Avoid Mishaps with Safer Stair Practices

We don't give it too much thought when going upstairs or downstairs. For most of us, it's akin to breathing—something we naturally do without a second thought.

However, twice in the past year, I've realised how much of a safety hazard stairs can be. It's crucial to always "mind your step."

One incident happened at home. My staircase is carpeted except for the last step, which is laminate wood. While descending with my arms full of items, I slipped on that last step and landed awkwardly on the left side of my bottom. It was a painful and surprising fall, considering it happened on my familiar stairs.

The other time, I was hurrying to pick up a friend at the airport. I was slightly late and misstepped on the second-last step, thinking it was the last one and fell hard on my left knee. The fall was pretty nasty, made worse by rushing and the hard paved surface I landed on.

These incidents happened a few months apart but had similar outcomes—both required me to go for a few sessions of remedial manipulation and massage to recover.

The home fall caused a misalignment in my left hip, which threw off my entire left side. Everyday movements became uncomfortable, and I had to adjust how I moved to avoid pain. 

The airport fall was just as bad; it sent my body into shock, almost like whiplash, causing muscle tension, neck pain, and headaches. These falls showed me how vulnerable we can be to small hazards in our daily routines.

From these experiences, I've learned the importance of being mindful of stairs and their potential dangers, even in routine situations. Always remember to "mind your step" to prevent similar mishaps.

Here are a few tips to help you Mind Your Step(s)

General Tips

  • Pay Attention:
    Stay aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions like phones or conversations that 
    can divert your focus. Being mindful can help you spot potential hazards before they become a problem.
  • Use Handrails:
    Always use the handrails for support and balance. 
    Handrails are there for a reason: they can prevent slips and falls, especially when you're tired or carrying something.
  • Clear the Clutter:
    Ensure your stairs are free from 
    any objects that could cause you to trip. This includes toys, shoes, or any other items.
  • Maintain Your Stairs:
    Regularly check your stairs for 
    any damage or wear and tear, like loose carpeting or broken steps, and fix these issues promptly.
  • Lighting:
    Make sure your stairway is well-lit. Good lighting can help you see where you're at and avoid missteps, especially in areas with uneven steps.

Going Up the Stairs

  • Take One Step at a Time:
    Don’t rush. Make sure your whole foot is on each
    step for stability. Rushing increases the risk of tripping, so take your time to ensure each step is secure.
  • Keep Your Balance:
    Lean slightly forward to stay balanced, especially when carrying things. This helps distribute your weight evenly and makes it easier to keep your balance.
  • Don't Overload Yourself:
    If you're carrying stuff,
    make sure it doesn't block your view or throw off your balance. It's better to make multiple trips than to risk a fall because you can't see where you're stepping or are off-balance.

Going Down the Stairs

  • Look Ahead:
    Keep your eyes on the stairs ahead. Don't look down at your feet. Focusing ahead helps you anticipate the next steps and keeps your balance steady.
  • Step Down Carefully:
    Make sure your foot is fully on each step. If the steps are uneven or narrow, be extra careful. Take your time, and don't rush, especially if the stairs are unfamiliar or if you're in a hurry.
  • Mind Your Shoes:
    Wear shoes with good traction and avoid loose, slippery footwear like socks. Shoes with proper grip can make a significant difference in preventing slips and falls.

These simple tips can help keep you safe and prevent any nasty falls. Staying vigilant and taking a few extra precautions can make a big difference.

Stay safe, and always remember to mind your step(s)!

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Credit goes to...

Thank you, Catrina Kruger, for sharing your Random Act of Safety

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