Don’t Let Winter Get You Down – Tips for Avoiding Falls

Winter is still alive and well here in Fairfax, and that means taking the proper precautions when you have to be outside in slippery conditions. We’re going to look at:

  • The appropriate technique for walking on ice
  • How to protect elderly relatives from winter falls
  • When you should schedule a chiropractic appointment if you do slip and fall

The Safe Way to Walk on Ice

Walking on ice is all about maintaining the proper center of gravity. When we walk under normal circumstances, we keep our weight centered between the leg that is moving forward and the one behind us. That’s not good for walking on ice. Why?

The fact is that neither leg is in a good position for supporting a person on a slippery surface. Both the front and back legs are supporting your body weight at an angle. While that’s fine on dry ground, it’s more than enough to kick a leg out from under you while on the ice.

Take a lesson from the penguin. Penguins take small steps and lean forward a little while on the ice. This keeps all of their weight pressing straight down. You can do the same when you have to walk on ice by taking small steps and leaning forward slightly to keep all of your weight over the front foot.

While this method isn’t completely guaranteed, it is certain to give you a better chance of staying upright than trying to walk normally.

Assisting the Elderly in Icy Conditions

While it is obviously better to keep elderly ones off the ice altogether, here are a few tips for when winter travel is a necessity.

  • Proper footwear – Winter boots should have non-slip bottoms and be warm and waterproof.
  • Cane ice pick – For those who walk with a cane, you can add a retractable pick, so the cane has extra traction too. These are sold in many pharmacies.
  • Keep walkways clear – Keeping the walkway between the front door and the car clear of snow and ice will minimize the chance of falls.
  • Get assistance – Older ones really should have someone to hold on to when out in the winter.

When to Call Dr. Ward

If you feel like you have been injured in your fall, feel free to schedule a same day appointment. However, even if you don’t feel any pain immediately, you may be really sore when you wake up the next morning. Try to stay ahead of inflammation by applying ice to any part of your back or neck that may have been jarred. You can also use heat to increase blood flow to the area and encourage faster healing. If you wake up sore the next morning, we’re here to help.