How to get up from the floor (after a fall) – MacGyver style!

How to get up from the floor (after a fall) – MacGyver style!

A significant number of people who experience a fall in the home have difficulty getting back up again. They find themselves trapped on the floor for hours, or even days, no toilet, no food, no water – no good. With this video, I want to teach you how to ideally get yourself back up on your feet – in minutes. More precisely, I am going to teach you how to get yourself up from the floor “MacGyver style”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with MacGyver, it wasn’t an action adventure TV series in the ’80s, featuring a character, named MacGyver, who was able to take common everyday items he found around him and use them in unconventional, creative ways to get himself out of all kinds of crazy predicaments. With the eyes of a therapist, I can look around this living room, full of the typical household items and see many things that people can use to successfully get up from the floor. In this video we will explore some of those possibilities. Now each of you out there is going to have different ability levels and different things available for use in the environment. Therefore everything shown in the video will not work for everyone. But one of the most important things you’ll come away with is how to use inventive, MacGyver style thinking, to help rescue yourself in the event a fall does occur. In the case that your injured, your first step may not be to be to try and get up on your feet so hang tight to the end of the video where I’ll also show you what to do in the event you experienced an injury during the fall. I’m going to start off by showing you a basic fall recovery technique and then we’ll advance to the truly MacGyver style techniques. We’ll begin with a basic fall recovery technique. This is a great one to have in your repertoire in case you do find yourself down on the floor. Begin by simply drawing your knees upwards and reaching your dominant arm across your body to the opposite side. Place your hand down on the floor and push down through that hand while pulling the other elbow backwards underneath you. Extend both arms and come over onto your knees and then crawl to a stable surface. Raise your strongest leg and push down through your hands and that leg and simply turn and sit down. and once seated remain seated a few moments to make sure you’re OK. If the basic technique doesn’t work for you, here’s another one you can try. This one is called the Tipping Point. With this technique you simply extend your elbows and lift your bottom just a few inches off the floor. Until you find that nice tipping point where you’re able to lean your head and your shoulders backwards onto the couch. And once your weight is supported on the couch you simply walk your legs to the side lift your feet up on top of the couch, roll over onto your side and drop your legs over the edge And push yourself upright. If both of these techniques don’t work Here’s another one you can try. This is called the Hip Hike. When your hand is on the same side of your body it’s difficult to get enough height to get up on top of the couch. The trick is to reach your hand across you body, lean your head forward and push down through the arm on the right and the elbow on the left while lifting your hips on top of the couch. If none of those techniques work for you, then it’s time to start to scan your environment for something else that can help. In this case I found a nice pull out mattress below this couch. And I’m going to use that as a halfway transition point or a step to help me get up. I’m going to combine it with the hip hike that we used last time. And just to review simply push down through your elbow, through your arm on the right and lean your head forward while you hike your hips up on top the couch. By applying a little MacGyver style thinking, there are many things that you can use to create a step to help yourself more easily get up from the floor. In this case I grabbed the stereo speaker down from the shelf beside me, which makes a great halfway point. And from there it is much easier to transition backwards onto the chair. And of course back to normal activities again. What if there isn’t a couch or chair nearby, this next one gives new meaning to the expression “Get a Leg Up!” In this one you can see I flipped over a common coffee table, I am going to grab the speaker down just like I did last time you can grab anything nearby you think will make a nice step I’m also going to grab the second speaker, because I now need to make a little bit higher transition point to be able to stand up from, since I don’t the couch or chair behind me here you’ll see I work my way slowly up the speaker steps, and once I reach the top the good part now is that I have these great table legs that I can use for balance and to help to push myself up. And here you see me, happy to be back on my feet. Once you’ve turned on your MacGyver style thinking, you’ll be able to find steps everywhere. In this next clip, I found a great set of steps on the back side of this chair. All I needed to do was remove the cushion and flip the chair upside down and ah! a great tool to use to help me get up from the floor. However, once I reach the top step I realize I am still a little too low, and I don’t have armrests to push up but I am not going to give up, all I need to do is turn myself to the side and use the bottom of the chair and I am happy back up on my feet again. And last but no means least, my favorite MacGyver style fall recovery technique is the Book Tower. For this one, all you need to do is lean your hips slightly from side to side and tuck a book under the opposite side and continue doing so until you reach a height where you are able to stand up Try to build your Book Tower near something you can use to hold on to to stand up In this case I use the edge of the book shelf. You can also consider building a shorter Book Tower and placing it in front of a couch or chair. The couch here gives the Book Tower a little more stability and it’s easy to move from the Book Tower on to the couch. Likewise, you can consider building it in front of a window sill, or somewhere else with good hand-holds. Now what if you were injured during the fall? In this case it might not be wise to get back up on your feet. Especially if you hurt a back or a hip during the fall. And trying to drag yourself can be completely exhausting. I have another trick for you. This one is called the “Glute Scoot”. also known as “butt walking” With this one, all you need to do is lean yourself from side to side and as you do so, lift and scoot the opposite hip backwards and this takes very little energy, and I can go backwards, and I can also go forwards. And the goal is to try to work your way across the room either to a telephone or the front door where you can call for help Now if you’re injured to the extent that you can’t even sit up? And as we said, trying to drag yourself around can be exhausting. In this case, I have one last trick for you. This one I call the Sideways Inch-Worm. Begin by drawing your knees upwards and pushing down through your heels as you lift and scoot your hips sideways. And at the top, you want to push down through your elbows as you lift and glide your shoulders sideways. and using this sideways inch worm technique, you want to incrementally work your way across the floor ideally to a telephone, but if you can’t reach the phone, then you want to make your way to the front door, where you can remove a shoe or grab any nearby object to help you make as much noise as you can to get someone’s attention to come help you as soon as possible.

100 Replies to “How to get up from the floor (after a fall) – MacGyver style!”

  1. Only 2 days after watching this video I actually tripped over in a car park and fell full length. I asked my partner to get the esky out of the car and was able to easily get myself upright by using this. Thank you

  2. HA< HA HA….Right….Trust me I WAS in this situation , once with broken ankle once with sciatica
    and my body just didn't move like that at all, you move freely,
    Show it with older people

  3. I know one lady in her 90s who fell indoors and broke her pelvis in the process, so was unable to move and I don’t think these techniques would have helped her. I know another lady in her 90s who fell indoors and bashed her head on a table as she fell, and was unable to get up, and she was not found for 4 days, still lying on the carpet. She died shortly afterwards. Neither of these two ladies was able to reach the phone.
    When I was only 50 years old I once had sciatica so badly that I was lying on the carpet at home and could not crawl to the phone for many hours. Even with help I could not get off the floor until the next day because it was too painful to move.

  4. Thank you so much for this video, I am a 66 yr.old disabled lady and live alone and these tips will come in handy…I loved MacGyver!!

  5. Very helpful video, but I would have a problem with each one of these manuevers. I'm in a wheelchair, but able to transfer from chair to bed and vice versa, how would I get back into my wheelchair after a fall. 👍 👍
    Please do a video on this. Thank you.

  6. I recently had a problem turning off the water in the shower. I stepped out of the shower to get a screwdriver off the counter to tighten the on/off knob. When I went to step back into the shower I slipped and fell in the process I turned the hot water knob hotter. I was able to get the hot water cooker but I was slick and had difficulty getting my feet under me. I finally grabbed my towel and put it into the floor of the shower and got up. It’s a sick feeling to be in that situation.

  7. I was hoping to find a better way for me to get up when I fall. Unfortunately, all of these methods to get back up require being able to push using the lower legs. I can't do that (or squat, kneel, crawl, or pedal a bike). I have to get up with my legs straight (feet against something if the floor is slick, but not a wall as I need to be able to lean back to counterbalance once I have my legs under me so I can straighten up). The only way I can do that is to lay face forward, spread my legs for stability, push my body up with my arms and start walking my hands back into a "downward dog" style yoga position with my legs locked straight, then once my hips are up, bring my legs together and walk my hands up my legs to straighten up. Hurts my bad back like crazy to do it that way but it's the only way I've discovered I can get up.

  8. great tips for people who have the strength to lift themselves. Most people that fall, like my mother, do not have the strength for these techniques. Otherwise for generally healthy people the tips are good

  9. Most of these would work for me…Are the methods detailed in a document somewhere…Would like to keep a written copy near the floor of my condo?

  10. This is amazing life saving information. My mother fell & was stuck for 19 hours alone. Luckily my brother who lives in a town near by check on her & saved her. I was living across the country at that time.

  11. A lot of seniors are not able to do these things and many of us have knees problems and not a lot of strength. Christmas I fell while alone and it took me hours to get up.

  12. This comment section is like finding fellowship .lol
    Been a crash dummy
    for about 5 years now.
    Many broken ribs ,
    broken shoulder ,
    muscle pulled from bone , etc .
    Was told it can be caused by oxygen deprivation.
    Now have puffers for that .
    Haven't't fallen for quite some time .
    Sincerely thank you for sharing.
    This video was well worth the watch. So grateful to have seen it . What a relief to know more ways to get up.
    All the best to you all
    Sincerely Captain Crunch.

  13. i LOVED all the pointers, what a great help. I am going to show this to a friend of mine who has had a fall before and unable to get herself up. So we can practice these moves.


  15. I suggest recording a disabled person doing these "Simply" movements. I do believe your whole repetrois will be entirely different.
    Oh- and we don't get to just kick back and cross our legs, or do a carefree little dance after standing.
    Again, thanks.

  16. Twice I have gone down in the yard with nothing to reach or hang on to. I roll on my belly and get up on my artificial knees and pray that I don't ruin them. I can't keep doing it that way.

  17. Yah, most people are not as young as the one in video and has strong legs. I fell a couple of times and couldn't get up and i can't bend my knees nor kneel on them. Once i was on living floor. I walked my self across the floor in a sit up position by moving my rear back and forth and moved inch by inch to my front door and reached up and grab the door knob and unlocked it and open the door which was hard for me in it self cause i had a hard time reaching the door knob. Than when i got the door open i had a hard time getting my legs on the other side of the door. When i finally was able to do that now i had to unlock my storm door which the lock and handle was higher than the lock and door knob on inside door so had a hard time reaching up to open the storm door. When i finally managed to do this i opened the storm door which opens out which was good and than i moved my legs in front of me cause when trying to open storm door i was sitting sideways. I have a porch thank God. So i walked my rear to the opening of doorway and dropped my feet onto the porch deck. I tried to pull myself up being now my legs were in a bent position by holding the door handle, but couldn't cause in order to do that ment i had to stand up and my legs were not strong enough to lift my body. I had to drop myself down onto the porch deck and i walked myself in a sitting position by moving my rear back and forth until i reached the porch steps than i dropped my feet down on the top step, still couldn't pull myself up so i had to walk my rear back and forth until i could drop my feet down another step. Now this made my feet a lot lower than my body and now i was able to stand up, but not without the help of my arms pushing me up. This tooked about a half hour or more to get up from the time i fell. I was very tired out so i just stood there for awhile and than went inside, shut and locked both doors and sat down in my big recliner and rested for a while. If i had banged on my front door for help there was no one to hear me. I have a land-line and cell phone, but neither were in reach at the time. I am luck i was able to finally get myself up, cause if not i don't know what would have happened cause i don't have anyone doing a house check on me. I am in my 70's. So i want to say that the young girl in the video ment well, but she can move around and do thing's that we older people can't. 🙂

  18. Wish I saw your video back in march when I fell in the bathroom was there almost 8 hrs..Next time I'll know what to do…thanks so much..

  19. Thanks this really helped! if only i had seen this last monday when i tripped over an ant on the floor, i was down for 18 hours

  20. This was truly helpful. But I fell in the garden and struck my head on a block of concrete. Nobody at home but my 15 year Newfoundland a life saver who looked at me from the kitchen and barked. The door was closed and even if she was solid on her hind legs she couldn't open the kitchen door. I lay unconscious as the shock was severe. It was last year I was 68years. I dont remember how I got up, there was nothing to grip on to but grass, had a broken arm and head injuries. The only Doctor I had was my dog who comforted me. I still have my broken arm but my dog "closed her eyes" a few months later.

  21. I agree on most methods u show,but I have 1 replacement knee,am over 80 yrs,cannot use my knees as support or leverage,any suggestions.Think some of your methods could be adapted ? Rene in London UK,many thanks anyway.

  22. What do you do when you have nothing close to get upon, bad knees, and weak hamstring and forearm muscles that cannot support you?

  23. I'm laughing at all you posters who are giving different scenarios: WHAT IF….I have no legs or arms, my chin is weak, I'm pinned down by a car, and there are hurricane winds? LMAO

  24. These procedures are good if your young enough and strong enough and are near items that can be useful, but for the elderly and very frail people this won't work.

  25. Some of these methods remind me of the Bobath method of moving patients. They don't teach it anymore but it was so great because you use your own weight to move! Thank you for this common sense approach!

  26. Have had 4 knee replacements & a broken back. I do the butt scoot a lot, the inch worn. Will try the tipping point the next time I fall. My bed is pretty high up so I'm pretty much out of luck there. Thx for your Technics.

  27. Videos like this one helps put ideas into the mind of people who otherwise feel very helpless. Of course not everyone is as fit or slightly built as this person but having an idea how to help yourself in a situation like this means even if it takes a long time putting any of these methods into practice it is better than just lying where you have fallen and doing nothing. Also now, before any fall, is the time to look around in the home so see what is available to help or indeed purchase something which can help. For example most speakers available currently won't take the weight of an adult human so maybe purchase a footstool or even a sturdy decorative ladder (like those used for towels or a pretty blanket) for help proving purchase to raise body height or even to reach a phone or a doorknob. Even tying a rope with knots (or a silk cord if a rope is too ugly) to a door knob or create another anchor point with a hook attached firmly to the wall – either will help lift someone up from the floor.

  28. Consider putting Echo Dots around house. You can then make phone calls via Alexa. There is no charge for this.

  29. This makes you think ! Now my mind goes into thinking ahead. Strength goes downhill the older we get. But if you don’t use it, you will lose it. We must do Some strengthening exercises for our own sake – and living alone- that idea with the Echo buttons around the house with an Alexa from Amazon OR those emergency necklace around our neck , always ready to activate the emergency response agent.
    I have fallen 3 times in 3 years. A broken toe, fractured a wrist bone And the big one – a busted end of my collar bone . I was able to get up from these, but why does it happen ? Each time I stubbed my toe and it sent me flying . Working with our body like a Mind/ Body connection is exercise too, mindful of our body, and coaxing the strengthening side of it

  30. Hi there, great video and thanks. I have a new right knee which hurts if i kneel on it. My left knee should be replaced to but not yet. I haven't fallen but if I need to be on the floor, how do you suggest to do that without causing a great deal of pain in my knees. I have a way that I have been doing this by using the piano bench, but if you have any other ideas, that would be great. Thanks again, Gary

  31. Thank You! I just shared this with my HOA. I learned many clever strategies from you and hope to see more of your vids!

  32. If your hearing is going, many times your balance will be affected also . Elderly people fall all the time.

  33. That was really excellent. I'm a modified yoga instructor and the average age of my clients is 57-89 years young. Many have had serious falls. Fallen face down, and broke her jaw and teeth, several others fell and broke hips, foot shoulders. I have done small seminars to explain how to get up. Well done. So many great ideas. I love the book tower! Ingenious! The upside down chair is phenomenal if they have some arm strength. Where are you located?
    201-970-9340 Katheryn (yogakat)

  34. I've done a couple faceplants in the yard. What I've found is that if I go barefoot or in light slippers my toes help my balance. My clod-hopper orthotic shoes are actually the worst for uneven ground.

  35. None of these work for a person who doesn't have arm or leg strength. My mom is weak and can't do any of these.

  36. Thank you for this video and your articulation of instructions. Very helpful. I am 75 with COPD which has affected my ability to exercise, thus my leg and arm strength. I have fallen several times and have great difficulty getting up. Today was an example. My dog's leash wrapped around my legs sending me into the bushes. As typical, I couldn't catch my breath, so couldn't get up for the longest time.
    Your suggestions in this video are very helpful for me to reexamine today's situation and know what I can try next time. Thank you!!

  37. I just want to say that you need to be cautious about putting your weight on things like a speaker. They might break, and create sharp edges.

  38. A fellow tenant ( 80+ years) who uses a cane for walking, fell in his apt. He damaged a shoulder and broke 3 ribs. He couldn't move and laid on the floor overnight until his daughter visited the next morning. A LOT of the older people I live with have no muscle strength and are not able to crawl around on the floor or even get up off the floor. They have also probably lost some body balance. It's always easy to watch some 30 something do some activity and think and older person can also do them with a slight variation. They can NOT. Older people have to do appropriate exercises in advance of something awful happening.

  39. It would be a proper instruction if she had a 70+ lying on the floor, instruct him/her what to do and see if that works.

  40. This is a very informative video. Fortunately I have only been unable to get up from the floor one time. The worst part for me was the fear and realization that this could happen to me. I was actually cleaning a spot on the floor. I was also having an RA flair and was surprised when I couldn't get up. Both my legs and arms were too weak to work properly. Finally I was able to crawl to a chair and get myself upright. Humiliating but done. Needless to say I now take my limitations more seriously.

  41. Do you have techniques for above the knee elderly amputees? I'm my mom's live in caregiver and I find we have to call emergency responders to help me if Mom falls. …. Oh wow! I thought about using books Last night for Mom! She laughed and called me crazy when I said let's gradually stack some books under your bum-bum! Lol! I knew I was right! Lol! I'm going to show her this video. Thank you this was very easy to follow. I would love to know about amputee fall solutions.👍 💞

  42. Thank you for this video. . My greatest fear is falling ..which I did a few months ago and I used the side to side hip to reach the steps. But I had a very hard time bending my knees or even leaning on the knees … I have arthritis so bad in both .. most of these you have to bend the knees or putting pressure on them and that's not happening here and even if I delt with the pain , it wont help because im so swollen that they just wont bend anyway , as far as sitting that i could do but any lower I'm screwed… do you have any tips in my situation. ……

  43. remember that footstools are our friend especially those in our livingroom areas they can help us get up off floor, use what you have to pull or push yourself up for frequent falls get one of the pouches for your cell phone so you can call for help most of all stay calm

  44. When you fall and you're not terribly injured I don't see why you need someone to teach you how to get up. instinct just takes over. You figure it out.

  45. I have a table in my dinning room that very doubt I can flip it over if I fall and cannot get up. Just kidding (but the table is real though).

  46. I have fallen a few times and was unable to get up. I can't bend my knee but a little bite and I can't roll over to crawl because advanced arthritis in both knees. This is not a poor me story. I wanted to reference the book towel method. I had used it several times and found it to be a very helpful way to get up from the floor.

  47. I would think most people who fall & can't get up will be too weak to do any of these suggestions due to lack of strength. Helpful for those who can though

  48. I fell with only wall around me – I had to use method #1 – but it definitely took me awhile due to pain…it might have taken me longer if I was injured anymore and might have had to wait for hours to get help

  49. Excellent job! This video should get some sort of award from YouTube for public service (if there IS any such award).

  50. But what do you do if you are 2x normal weight? One method I saw a big gal once use was to roll onto her stomach and push up at the same time with both arms (palms down) enough to then get her legs (through the feet) to also assist in pushing her up the rest of the way.. This is a variation on this method called "The Spiral", which involves sitting up and slinging your dominant arm first outward and then back across your chest, to induce a spiral motion of your body. With the other hand pressing on the floor, you pivot 180 degrees at the end of the "spiral", and your legs finally assist you in getting to your feet. Saw this demonstrated on another YouTube video.

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