Health & Spirit

Walking the dog and fracture risk

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Many NBA players have been known to "walk the dog," but LeBron James may have done the definitive stroll in 2013, when playing for the Miami Heat. He spent more than 10 seconds gently pushing the ball down the court with his foot before picking it up and taking his team to victory with 36 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

But sometimes, walking the dog is risky. Fast-forward to March 2019, when LeBron tried it as an LA Laker. He kicked the ball out of bounds, fracturing his already fragile relationship with the LA fans, as the team sank below .500.

It seems lots of other people have learned how easy it is to fracture something while walking the dog! Researchers found that from 2004 to 2017, there was a 163% increase in the number of folks who had to go to the emergency room because they were tripped up and fractured a bone while dog walking. Overall, half the injuries were fractures on the upper body, but for folks 65 and older, hip fractures were the most frequent break, accounting for 17% of all cases. This is particularly risky, because, among seniors, 30% of a hip fractures lead to death, as they can cause a cascade of problems related to immobility.

Walking the dog is great for your health, so make sure you stay safe. Use an adjustable leash that's 6 feet or less in length; pay attention -- no texting and walking; and train your animal to obey commands such as "heel" and "sit."



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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