I’ve inherited the clumsy gene! 120



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Last week I had another fall – it is happening too often. As I come down I think, “Oh no, not again”, then the expletives come out that I only use on these occasions. No doubt I’d even shock a truckie or construction worker with my language. No broken bones this time – a couple of stitches and massive bruising. The upside of this fall is the lovely new friend I made who came to my aid.


I’ve inherited the clumsy gene I’m sure, but I used to be able to rebalance myself before hitting the dirt. Some say I should slow down. I know in my head I’m still a teen, but my body says otherwise. Some say I should lift my feet. These feet have been walking like this for over 60 years, and now I’m told I have to lift them. How hard it will be – like learning to walk all over again.

It is getting as though my brain isn’t connecting to my feet. I’m sure some of my friends wonder why they ever go places with me as we are likely to end up in casualty while I have more injuries tended.

Two years ago I broke my rib while walking the dog in sand. Last year I broke a rib on the other side, then two weeks later broke my sternum. I’m sure hoping I don’t have 3 lots of broken bones this year as they seem to be increasing by one more annually. Having said this, it is hard to keep me down – I heal reasonably quickly and push myself to the max.


I’m joining tai chi to try to obtain better balance. I sure hope I don’t fall over there.

The doctor is sending me for a brain scan. The tests in his surgery went well, apart from the one where you close your eyes and walk heal to toe – it was like I was drunk and failed that one miserably. I dread the thought that there may be something wrong with my brain – I’m too young and active to have a walking stick/ wheelchair or aids around the house. But is that just my teenage brain thinking, not my actual physical capabilities?


Have any of the Starts at Sixty community any suggestions on improving balance and preventing falls?

Jeanette Southam

  1. Empathizing Jeanette, although my falls have been further apart and only one resulted in a cracked rib my former boss banned me from using ladders, I did explain I’d only fallen on what appeared to be flat ground (because I was rushing around) and not off ladders ,she wasn’t taking any chances, 🙂 what gets me is my heart pounding so much when it happens, more afraid of a heart attack than the fall, still when I begin to stumble I know my brain’s working faster than my feet can move

  2. Jeanette, this too used to happen to me all the time until about 2 years ago – the only thing that has changed and has now stopped my falls is my own thinking! I think about where I am in the moment. About where I am walking and what I am doing especially on stairs. It has resulted in no falls for almost 2 years! We are often so busy thinking a million other things that we don’t step into the moment (pardon the pun) I knew I couldn’t keep having falls so I made a resolve that if I was carrying heavy groceries I would think about how sure and safe my steps would be. If walking the dogs I affirm my body stays upright and secure. Stairs are my worse so I walk each one thinking about where I am placing my feet and I affirm that I am safe. This may not help you and you may find you have a medical condition but it works for me and I love living a “fall free” life now.

  3. Better to be checked then you can work on balance it is not something we keep as we age and need to be worked on!

  4. Had my first 3wks ago. Had been sitting on my foot, of course it went to sleep. Happens . I gave it a shake as always to get circulation going, as it always does . Didn’t wait long enough and when I put my weight on it, it just collapsed. Sitting on my rear end on kitchen floor I said ‘…..and so it begins . Tai Chi a great idea.

  5. I too have this gene – last one resulted in a badly fractured shoulder and a fractured elbow 🙁

  6. I went to my grandsons swim event was walking down what I thought concrete path head in the sky looking for him.. Wasn’t a path was it was steps……over the old girl goes. Was very embarrassing…. Very handsome strong young man came to help. ( whilst the rest just stood around)….. No damage done except the old ego.

  7. yep, sympathies to you. I had bad fall December 29 th, another one 3 weeks ago…….having shoulder reconstruction on Monday! Damn gravity and age! lol

  8. Low Blood Pressure can do it and our balance gets worse yes tai chi or simple balance exercise at home or gym maybe doing the dishes standing on one leg I think accidents happen because we are over confident but it should be one step at a time and shoes with good grip

  9. My last fall was 2 days ago whilst trying to catch my pup who loves to chase my chickens, I tripped over a twig, a small cut on both knees, no major damage, as I have vertigo it is easy for me to lose my balance, I rarely get hurt, as I don’t freeze up just go limp, don’t try to stop the fall just go with it.

    1 REPLY
    • I had an undiagnosed condition in 2010 that made me feel like my feet were nailed to the floor (a lameness just above my knees)! An MRI, CatScan, and 23 other tests (including some because the doctors thought I may have been developing MS) had no conclusive diagnosis.
      Two years later a started having falls. I can’t steady myself if I trip and my reaction just freezes. Had two bad falls earlier this year – broke my arm twice in a week (the second time inside the fibre glass cast for the first break. I have stopped taking the statin drug I was taking for cholesterol because I found out that it can cause balance problems. Too early to say whether my balance is better but I am very careful around dogs, steps, and the like.

  10. Two falls last year. First took several weeks to recover. Second broke my patella and that was 4 months ago. Still recovering but mobile thankfully. I slip on just about everything.

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