Slips and falls in snow or ice are probably the biggest problems we face during the winter season. The big question is: How do we avoid slips and falls in snow or ice? I have the following suggestions.
Tips to Avoid Slips and Falls in Snow or Ice
Tips on how to avoid slips and falls in snow or ice:
- Use footwear with good traction- flat rubber soles provide better traction than leather soles or high heel shoes.
- Bend your knees and flex your trunk slightly- this will lower your center of gravity and move your weight to the front part of your foot. This will also counter the backward momentum that we usually get when we slip.
- Walk slowly and take small steps- this will keep your center of balance underneath you.
- Don’t lift your foot up- maintain contact with the ground. You have greater balance when both feet are on the ground. Imagine skating over a slippery surface rather than walking.
- Avoid putting your hands in your pocket or carrying too many things- keep them free to help you maintain your balance. Imagine the tight-rope artist using his arms or a stick to maintain his balance.
- Use assistive devices with good traction- rubber tips on cane and walkers help a lot. Make sure they are not worn out. Ski poles are good too.
- Use handrails where you can- especially on ramps and stairs.
Accidents happen. Here are things you should do if you do fall or slip on ice:
- Breathe out and relax your body- when your body is tense, it prevents the muscles from absorbing shock. Think of the drunk driver who walks away from a devastating crash with barely a scratch.
- Don’t use your out-stretched arms to break your fall- fall on out-stretched hands increases the chance of you breaking your wrist or arms.
- Land on a broad surface- landing on the palms of your hands and forearms instead of your hands only with elbows locked will distribute the impact on a bigger area instead of a specific spot which lessens the chance for fractures.
- Protect your face if you are falling forward- looking forward and holding your head up will protect your face in case you are falling face first.
- Fold your body like an accordion- this help you slow down your fall and lower your center of gravity.
- Protect your head when you are falling backward- put your hands behind your head, tuck your chin or look at your chest then curl back and roll. Landing on one butt cheek is also good because this is usually a well-padded area.
If you experience falls frequently or are recovering from injuries sustained from a fall, we can help! We can design a specialized program that has shown great results in improving your balance or relieving your pain and restoring your function. Call Restore Plus today for more information or to schedule an appointment! (800) 905-0513.
Restore Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
33-10 Queens Blvd. Suite 301
Long Island City, NY 11101