Worried about falling on the ice and snow outside this winter?
Here are some common tips for walking and being safe outside this winter:
- Wear proper footwear
Check the bottom of your shoe (sole) prior to going out in the snow. Flat soles will not be helpful here – consider wearing shoes with soles that have deeper ruts and valleys as they will be optimal for outdoor walking. If the bottom of your shoe looks like a waffle maker, odds are that you will fare better in the snow than if you were to wear a flat-sole shoe. Also, for your sake, please sacrifice the beauty of the boot for the functionality. Exchange the fur for the waterproof sides and the frilly laces for the water-resistant rubber soles that provide better grip and ground contact.
- Take the path less travelled
Similar to driving conditions, walk in an area that has little to no foot traffic. It is more difficult to gain footing or traction in packed and clumped, snowy areas. Fresh snow that has not been packed/smashed by other walkers is considered safer than areas where foot traffic has already taken place. However. ice can occur anywhere so be cautious with your stepping; take slow and controlled steps across unknown terrain to reach your destination safely!
- How can physical therapy help?
Do you feel like you have bad balance? Weak legs? Fear of falling? Practice makes perfect and there is no better time to start than today! A physical therapist can assess muscle strength, improve movement, develop a plan, and implement controlled balance training exercises to regain confidence. All of this applies to the goal of keeping you safe, secure, and confident as you brave the elements in the winter.
Maybe you know someone who has gone to a PT after a fall, that’s definitely something we can help with. What about before a fall? As healthcare professionals we have a duty to advocate and educate the community and attempt to reduce the risk of injury.