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How to fall over (and not get injured)

Image of the August 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
August 2018 Issue

Falling over without getting injured is a skill, just like trying not to fall in the first place. So how do you do it?

Falling over isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you fall with control. With any luck, it’s just your ego that will be bruised. 

Move in the direction you’re falling

Knee and ankle injuries often happen when the body moves in the opposite direction to the joint. This usually happens because your foot or knee slips in the opposite direction. To avoid an injury, don’t resist the momentum, let your body follow the knee or foot. 

Relax when you fall

When we fall, our muscles go into action to help keep us upright and regain balance. If we fall with rigid muscles, there’s a greater risk of injury through pulling or straining. Joint movement is also restricted which can lead to joint injuries. The challenge is learning when and how to relax a little as you tip over, letting your body melt or crumble to the ground. 

Use hands sparingly

Hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries can happen when we fall and put our hand down to ‘catch ourselves’. Rapidly or abruptly stopping the entire weight of your body can increase the impact on the joints. When you fall, try to kneel, sit down or fall on to your pack. If you have to put your hand down, try to slow the impact of the fall rather than stopping it.