Winter can be a time of great frustration when the weather gets in your way. Snow, rain, “wintry mix” and the aftermath of each can really mess things up, especially when there’s ice. Perhaps most dangerous of all conditions, ice on driveways, walkways and parking lots poses a serious risk for falls or slips, and the elderly and those who already have difficulty walking are particularly vulnerable during this time.
The truth is, slips and falls are the single largest cause for emergency room visits, and they are responsible for 300,000 serious injuries and 20,000 deaths each year. Though a number of other factors can lead to these accidents, the majority of them are due to icy conditions in the winter.
When falls do occur, they can lead to long-term disability that will make walking and going about your daily life even more difficult. Some of the more common injuries sustained after falls are back muscle strains, head injuries and possible concussion, and fractures to the tailbone, hips, forearms, legs and ankles.
At ARS Hand and Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ, we want you to stay on your feet and avoid any potential falls this winter season. By taking your time and following a few basic precautions, you’ll reduce your chances of slipping and keep yourself safe during the colder months of the year. We recommend the following:
- Be sure you’re wearing proper footwear any time there may be ice: boots are best, but any pair of shoes with good traction and a rubber sole will do; if need be, wear proper footwear while traveling and bring a pair to change into
- Take small steps, walk slowly and never run under any circumstances
- Keep both hands free (not in your pockets) for balance, use handrails whenever they are available and don’t carry any heavy loads
- Avoid icy surfaces and change your route accordingly to walk around it
- Test potentially icy spots by tapping the area with your foot first
- Don’t jump out of vehicles; instead, step out carefully and look for ice
- Remove snow and water from your shoes when entering buildings
- Shovel and salt your driveways and walkways (or have someone else do it)
Getting around in icy conditions may take longer than usual and often requires additional planning, but the extra time and effort will certainly be worth it if it prevents you from slipping this winter. For any additional advice on how to avoid a fall or to schedule an appointment for any aches or pains, call ARS Hand and Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ at 973-379-7006.