Living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) can be challenging. But steps you can take in everyday life will help you with controlling the disease’s many symptoms, and preventing injuries. Here are some of these safety tips.
Opt for safe sports and activities
Good options for sports and other activities include walking, recreational biking, yoga or tai chi, swimming, and using a stationary bike or elliptical machine. Avoid contact and high-impact sports like soccer, football or basketball, weightlifting, and similar activities for your safety. Minimize stress on your hips, knees, and ankles, like that which accompanies running.
Protect your jaw
To guard your jaw joint, avoid chewing gum, hard candy, hard bread like rolls, and ice. Be sure to take breaks during dental work so that you can close your mouth.
Avoid certain musical instruments
To prevent a possible collapsed lung, avoid playing reeded wind or brass instruments. Safer options include a violin, viola, or piano, which would also take advantage of the increased flexibility you have in your hands.
Take care when entering and exiting vehicles
To prevent your sacrum (at the base of your spine) from shifting out of place, it’s best to find a level car seat that you can shift or slide into or away from, not one that dips or requires you to lift yourself up. To enter the car with the least chance of risking a slip, sit on the seat while facing the door, then turn toward the car’s front while swinging both your legs into the vehicle.
Avoid ‘up-slips’ when reaching
If you are sitting in a chair and happen to drop something to either side of you, you can cause what’s known as an up-slip, where your femur moves up and jams into your hip, by leaning to the side and reaching down for the item. If an up-slip happens, see your doctor before the condition causes marked pain.
Use hands-free can openers
Using downward pressure while attempting to open a can with a conventional can opener can injure your hand, fingers, elbow, or shoulder. Choose a can opener, often called a “handy can opener,” that with a touch of a button does most of the work for you, and basically is hands-free.
Avoid hugging friend and family
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of having EDS is needing to avoid simple hugs because they can cause subluxations, or misaligned vertebrae. Try to stay vigilant and ward off the damage that comes when someone who means well greets you, and may end up unwittingly hurting you.
Twist and sit with care
When twisting your body, do so from your hips for your safety. Twisting from the waist alone can cause you to throw your back out of place. While sitting, also avoid crossing your legs, as this can dislocate your sacrum.
Buy shoes with good arches
Having good arch support is a must, especially if you have flat feet. Sneakers or sandals that have arch support are best if you have subluxation issues with your legs and feet.
Avoid carrying objects
As EDS progresses, holding items in your arms can be painful and lead to more issues. Consider buying a cart or piece of luggage with wheels that can help you carry items safely and retain your independence.
Last updated: Oct. 7, 2020
Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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