Snow days can mean sledding, hot cocoa and a movie by the fire. But they are also dangerous. Snow and ice mean an increased risk of fall.
Every year, there are 3 million hospitalizations related to falls. That’s one in every four people over the age of 65, and as you age, the rate of fall increases significantly with age.
Dr. Lealah Fremuth, Point Performance’s gait and balance specialist, works with patients to treat and prevent injuries related to falls. In this video, she explains how to avoid and prevent falls due to winter conditions.
First and foremost, plan ahead. If you don’t have to travel during icy conditions, avoid the risk and stay inside. If you do have to go out in icy conditions, look out for hazards such as ice or uneven ground. While navigating these conditions, you want a snug shoe with good tread. Avoid heels or wooden bottomed shoes.
While walking in hazardous conditions, keep your hands free. Carrying items, especially heavy ones, increases your chance of fall and impedes your ability to grab onto rails or other handholds to steady yourself.
Additionally, avoid rushing and take your time. You’re more likely to fall when you’re rushed.
Physical therapy can also help prevent falls. You can work on gait pattern, balance, and confidence with functional mobility.