Of course, the best way to avoid falling on an icy surface is to not walk on it. Don’t go out in icy weather if you don’t absolutely need to. This is especially important if you are older, have balance problems, or weak or painful ankles.
If you do plan to go out in winter weather, be sure you have appropriate footwear. Wear lightweight boots with good support. Did you know that you can buy ice cleats (sometimes called snow grips) to attach to the bottom of your shoes or boots to help you navigate slippery surfaces?
Go slower than usual. Pay attention to your footing. Take smaller steps and keep your arms a bit out to the side. Think about how you’ve seen penguins walking!
Use your assistive devices. If you sometimes use a cane, walking stick, or walker, winter is the best time to employ it outdoors. If there is a handrail, grab it. Despite these precautionary steps, you may still fall. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that about 1 million US adults are injured yearly from slips and falls. These often happen when the temperature dips below freezing. If you do fall, try not to put your hands out to catch yourself. That is why many people break their wrists or arms when they fall. Instead, try to land on your side, back or bottom. Let someone help you up after you’ve fallen. Especially if you’ve been injured, it’s too easy to fall again and reinjure yourself as you attempt to become upright again. Here’s to a fall free winter for all of us.