If you have injuries, health problems, or other reasons that may make it easy for you to fall at home, it is a good idea to learn how to get up safely after a fall. Learning how to get up correctly can help you avoid making an injury worse.
Also, knowing what to do if you cannot get up can help you stay safe until help arrives.
How can you care for yourself after a fall?
If you think you can get up
First lie still for a few minutes and think about how you feel. If your body feels okay and you think you can get up safely, follow the rest of the steps below:
- Look for a chair or other piece of furniture that is close to you.
- Roll onto your side and rest. Roll by turning your head in the direction you want to roll, move your shoulder and arm, then hip and leg in the same direction.
- Lie still for a moment to let your blood pressure adjust.
- Slowly push your upper body up, lift your head, and take a moment to rest.
- Slowly get up on your hands and knees, and crawl to the chair or other stable piece of furniture.
- Put your hands on the chair.
- Move one foot forward, and place it flat on the floor. Your other leg should be bent with the knee on the floor.
- Rise slowly, turn your body, and sit in the chair. Stay seated for a bit and think about how you feel. Call for help. Even if you feel okay, let someone know what happened to you. You might not know that you have a serious injury.
If you cannot get up
- If you think you are injured after a fall or you cannot get up, try not to panic.
- Call out for help.
- If you have a phone within reach or you have an emergency call device, use it to call for help.
- If you do not have a phone within reach, try to slide yourself toward it. If you cannot get to the phone, try to slide toward a door or window or a place where you think you can be heard.
- Yell or use an object to make noise so someone might hear you.
- If you can reach something that you can use for a pillow, place it under your head. Try to stay warm by covering yourself with a rug, blanket, or clothing while you wait for help.
- If you can, try to move around a little bit to keep from getting stiff. If you urinate, try to roll away from the damp area.
What can you do to be prepared in case you fall?
Practice getting up from a fall. If you are a bit unsteady, have someone with you when you try this. Ask the person to read the steps out loud so you can do them one at a time.
If you are able to get up without help, practice this once a week or often enough to feel comfortable.
If you can't get up by yourself, see a physical therapist for help. A physical therapist can work with you to prevent falls and make a plan for what you can do if you do fall.
Current as of: August 7, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth A. Phelan MD, MS - Geriatric Medicine