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Posted on 02-12-2015

Before you do a little celebratory dance for what is seemingly the end of snowstorms for this winter season (we’re thankful for the end of snow shoveling too), don’t forget that there is still the looming danger of slipping on the leftover, hardened snow and ice. 

Slipping on ice can cause fractures and even more serious injuries like concussions. During the winter, these types of injuries are among the most common that occur with thousands ending in hospital visits.  We don’t want you to be part of that statistic.

Preparation is key
Slippery ice and getting to work or dropping the kids off at school on time do not mix well together. Understanding preventative measures and preparing for tricky walking conditions is key. Follow these tips for a slip-free, and therefore stress-free, morning:

1) Leave plenty of time so you aren’t rushing. You’ll be able to focus more on walking and taking careful steps if you aren’t pressed for time. If you have children, educate them on the dangers of walking on ice and get them on board with being prepared to leave earlier.

2) Wear slip resistant shoes (with rubber soles) or ice cleats. Invest in proper footwear for the snow and ice. Anything with smooth or leather soles is going to cause you to slip and slide. Yaktrax, Stabilicers, and Kahtoola are just a few highly rated brands for ice cleats.

3) Walk on designated walkways. Don’t try to shortcut your path when the walking conditions are dangerous. We love innovation but, when there is ice on the ground, it’s best to keep to the path most traveled.

4) Walk flat-footed and center your gravity over your feet. This will keep you more stable and help you balance. Don’t forget to move slowly with your steps.

5) Be aware that if you are carrying bags or heavy objects, your center of gravity will be off. Carry less to be safer and take multiple trips if necessary. Leave that giant purse full of things you don’t really need at home!

6) Don’t put your hands in your pockets. You’ll have a lower center of gravity and better balance if your hands are out and your arms are at your sides. Low center of gravity will stabilize your movement.

7) Use handrails and your car door for support. Two of the trickiest walking situations are steps and getting in and out of your car. In both situations, there is a moment when only one foot is on the ground. Take advantage of your surroundings for balance.

8) Place your full attention on walking. Don’t get distracted by your cell phone and prepare your children before you make your way to the car.

Understanding the correct way to fall
The idea of there being a “right way” to fall might sound funny, but it can actually save you from serious injury. There are a few actions you can take to prevent or lessen injury caused by a fall. Keep these in mind and share them with your loved ones.

1) If you fall, roll in the direction of the fall. This will keep you from rolling forward, which can lead to a much nastier fall than if you land on your bottom.

2) Tuck your chin to your chest to protect your head. Even if you manage to fall backward, there is still the danger of banging your head on the ground.

3) Don’t try to protect what you are carrying. Let it go so you can focus on protecting your body (another reason to avoid carrying too many bags and other items like coffee mugs...step away from the Starbucks).

Check out this video from the Today show for a visual demonstration.

What do you do after you fall?
After taking a tumble, your injury might be obvious. In a lot of cases, however, you might not notice problems and pains until weeks or even months later when the lower back pain starts. If you fell and aren’t experiencing any pain at the moment, it’s a good idea to get yourself to your chiropractor immediately. They’ll be able to spot any problems early and take corrective action or steer you in the right direction.

Make the right decision- stay in if possible
In some cases, it’s just not worth getting out in these conditions. If you are elderly or already injured, we encourage you to find a friend, family member, or neighbor to help you.

Resources
http://www.igb.illinois.edu/safety/walking-safely-slippery-conditions
https://www.belvoir.army.mil/safety/doc/Winter%20Safety%20Tips%20for%20Walking%20.pdf

http://ciaranm.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-avoid-slipping-on-ice-and-snow
http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hub/Winter-Safety-Tips-Inexpensive-Ice-Cleats

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