Winter is a busy time of year with many people out and about. As the temperature drops and winter weather occurs, the rate of injury is sure to increase with falls becoming more frequent. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury among all ages, even more so for older adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately one million Americans are injured each year due to falls.
Here are some tips to decrease your chance of falling this winter:
- Wear proper footwear and gloves: Ensure that your shoes provide enough support while walking on slippery surfaces. Wearing gloves allows you to keep your hands out of pockets for improved balance and to allow you to hold on to railings for additional support.
- Take small steps: Small steps (almost like a shuffle) can help you maintain your balance while walking on slippery surfaces.
- Pay attention and take your time: Be alert while you are walking and do not rush. Be sure that the area you are walking in is well lit and you are able to see any icy patches.
- Stay inside when able: When a winter storm hits, the best way to prevent falling is to stay indoors. Unless the trip is necessary, consider staying home until the weather conditions improve. If you need to leave your home, use pathways that are cleared of snow/ice.
- Use assistance/Ask for help: If you occasionally use a device to help with mobility, you should use it when out and about in winter weather. When navigating stairs, use the handrail for extra support. Ask a family member or friend to help clear a path for walking to and from your house.
- If you do fall: Wait for help. Waiting for assistance can ensure that you get up safely and prevent additional injury.
From the Milliken team, we hope you have a safe and Happy Holiday Season and Winter! If you do find yourself needing assistance for an injury related to your hands, wrist or upper extremity, Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center is here to help!