With winter time in Canada, we see snow, ice and all kinds of crazy weather that can impact our day to day activities. Driving and walking can become quite difficult and dangerous. It is important to remember to keep safe and take our time when travelling in the snow and ice.
This article will discuss specific measures you can take to prevent slips and falls when walking outside in the winter. These sorts of injuries are a main cause of many many broken bones, concussions and sprains. Follow these tips to stay safe and avoid falling.
Clear Snow and Ice:
It may seem obvious but it is vitally important to clear snow and ice in order to prevent slips and falls. Make sure you are ready with supplies and lay some salt down on your driveway before it snows, in order to help prevent ice build up. Oftentimes snow falls on top of ice, and therefore makes it impossible to see how slippery it is. Having a neighbour or company keep your driveway and sidewalks clear can prevent a lot of accidents.
Take Your Time and Plan Ahead:
Although weather can be unpredictable at times, it's always a good idea to plan ahead by checking the forecast for the day to come. If you notice snow or ice coming, then you can make arrangements to leave earlier so that you don't have to rush. Most people fall or slip on ice when they are in a hurry to get somewhere and don't walk carefully enough. It's also good to plan who will be clearing the snow or ice from your driveway and sidewalks. If you are unable to do so yourself, make sure it is taken care of by a family member or neighbour so that you don't have to trudge through snow. If you are going to be visiting somewhere or someone, call them and ask if the snow has been cleared where you will need to walk so you can stay safe.
Wear Proper Footwear:
Fashion must be put aside in the winter if you expect to stay safe and prevent slips and falls in the snow and ice. Make sure your footwear is warm and has a thick tread on the bottom so that you have as much friction and grip as possible when going out. High heels, running shoes and slip on style footwear usually doesn't provide this, be sure to wear something that will keep you safe.
Adjust your Walking Technique:
When walking through snow and ice, we must remember to take our time, but also to take shorter steps and hold on to something or someone if you can. This technique will help you balance when walking on slippery surfaces. Also, put your phone or other devices down and focus on the ground beneath you. It's important to pay attention to where you are stepping. Instead of taking shortcuts, stick to the areas that are designated for walking and have been shoveled and salted. Remember that rushing is what usually leads to falls, so slow down and focus on what you are doing.
Work With a Chiropractor or Physiotherapist on Stability / Balance:
Another way to prevent slips and falls in the winter is to work with a Chiropractor or Physiotherapist on your balance. As we age our balance usually gets worse because the signals from our feet take longer to reach our brain telling us that our feet are sliding. These signals can be re-trained using certain exercises. A good Physiotherapist or Chiropractor can help assign specific exercises to you and also help other areas of your body function optimally so that you can move with ease. Of course, if you have taken a spill, then they are also able to help aid in the recovery process from those types of injuries.
We hope you found this article helpful, please share it with those who are prone to slips or falls this winter so we can prevent as many of these injuries as possible!
Dr. Spenser Dougley DC, FR, FRCms