Tips to Prevent Winter Falls

Post by Dr. Jeffrey Guttman

As the temperature drops and snow and ice begin to appear, many Long Islanders will soon find themselves cautiously navigating icy streets and walkways again. With that winter weather comes an increased risk of slipping and falling that can cause shoulder, hip or knee problems. 

In fact, here at OSALI, wrist fractures are the most common injury we see this time of year. When a person falls, they instinctively brace themselves by falling on their outstretched hand, and the force is absorbed in the wrist, often breaking the bone.

I encourage all of my patients to proceed during the winter months with extra caution to avoid injuries. Here are some tips people can follow to avoid broken bones and bruises this winter:

Winter Footwear – If there is snow and ice on the ground be sure to wear shoes with good treads on the soles. This treading will help you grip the ground better and keep you from slipping.

Home Preparation – Adequate lighting between the front door and car can help you to see the icy conditions before you step. To keep walkways clear of debris, water, ice, and slippery materials have a plan in place to remove snow and ice from the driveway as soon as a storm is over. Use salt granules to melt ice in troublesome areas.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings – When walking outside, look down and focus the surface. Place your full attention on walking and avoid searching in your backpack or looking at your smartphone. If you’re unsure if something is slippery, test the area by tapping your foot on it or sliding your foot along it first before proceeding.

Proper Walking – Take short shuffling steps and bend your knees in icy and slick areas. Don’t walk with your hands tucked in your pockets, as this reduces your ability to use your arms for balance should you slip.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race – Allow a few extra minutes to get to your destination, especially after a snowstorm. Always look for the safest and most direct route – you’ll be glad you did.

Should you fall this winter, call us at (516) 364-0070 to schedule an appointment so that we can create the best treatment plan for your injury.

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Posted in: General & Pediatric Orthopaedic Care

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