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Tips for Avoiding Winter Slip-and-Fall Injuries

Slip-and-fall injuries happen throughout the year, but we see them more often in the winter, when snow, ice, and slush are present in the environment. People who already have limited mobility due to chronic health conditions like arthritis tend to be even more at risk for winter falls and injuries.

To avoid a winter-related slip and fall injury – including sprains, strains, bruises, cuts, whiplash, sciatica, herniated discs, or even bone fractures or concussions – keep the following tips in mind.

7 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Falls

1. Wear good footwear. Opt for supportive shoes or boots with sturdy rubber soles.

2. Take smaller steps. Small steps keep your center of gravity directly over your feet. They also slow you down a bit. Both factors reduce the chances of a foot slipping out from underneath you.

3. Support yourself with a walking stick or cane. A walking aid gives you a greater base of support and helps you maintain balance.

4. Pay attention. If you can’t avoid walking on snowy or potentially icy spots, then proceed with caution and mindful attention. Not sure if a sidewalk is icy? Assume it is and walk accordingly. And remember to be careful when walking inside: Floors may be wet from melting snow that people have tracked in on their shoes.

5. Get your vision checked. Most people rely heavily on their vision to maintain their balance. If you have uncorrected or undertreated vision problems, you may be more likely to trip and fall.

6. Boost your balance. Ask your doctor about referring you to a physical therapist who can help you improve your balance, strength, and range of motion.

7. Always carry your phone. If you fall and can’t get up, you’ll need a way to call for help. So, always bring your phone with you, even if you’re just stepping out to grab the mail.

When You Can’t Avoid a Fall: How to Fall More Safely

Sometimes, no matter how many precautions you take, a fall on ice or snow is unavoidable. Fortunately, there are a few techniques that can reduce your risk of a serious injury. If you start to fall, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep your arms and legs bent
  • Tuck your chin to your chest to protect your head if falling backward (if falling forward, turn your head to the side)
  • Try to land on your bottom, thighs, or back

Need Help Staying Healthy This Winter?

If you need help with a chronic condition or an acute injury, please contact Integrated Pain Solutions. We can help you regain control of your health and get back to doing the things you love to do! Call (614) 383-6450 to schedule an appointment.

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