Between snow, freezing rain, “wintry mix” and everything in between, winter weather can really interfere with our ability to get around. But perhaps worst of all weather conditions is the ice that may come after and precipitation. Ice on driveways, walkways and parking lots is a major danger that poses a serious risk for falls and slips, especially for the elderly and those who have difficulty walking over the next few months.
Slips and falls are actually the single largest cause for emergency room visits in the U.S. They are responsible for 300,000 serious injuries and 20,000 deaths each year. Though falls may occur for any number of reasons, many are due to icy winter conditions.
When someone experiences a fall, they often experience a long-term disability that can make walking and getting around in daily life extremely difficult. Some of the more common injuries sustained after falls are back muscle strains, head injuries like concussions, and fractures to the tailbone, hips, forearms, legs and ankles.
At Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates, 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 avoid seeing a physical therapist in Shelby or Kings Mountain, NC this winter. We recommend the following tips:
8 tips to help you stay on your feet this winter
- 1) Take small steps, walk slowly and never run under any circumstances
- 2) Keep both hands free (not in your pockets) for balance, use handrails whenever they are available and don’t carry any heavy loads
- 3) 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
- 4) Avoid icy surfaces and change your route accordingly to walk around it
- 5) Don’t jump out of vehicles; instead, step out carefully and look for ice
- 6) Test potentially icy spots by tapping the area with your foot first
- 7) Remove snow and water from your shoes when entering buildings
- 8) Shovel and salt your driveways and walkways (or have someone else do it)
Getting around in icy conditions often requires additional planning and may take longer than usual, but the extra time and effort will be worth it if it prevents you from slipping on ice this winter. For more information on avoiding falls or for any other aches or pains you may be experiencing, visit us at Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates at either of our two locations in Shelby and Kings Mountain, NC. Call 704-471-0001 to schedule an appointment.