Slips and falls can happen any time of the year, but Buffalo’s harsh winters can be especially hazardous. As the leading cause of injury for those 65 and older, slips and falls account for more than 95% of the 300,000 hip fractures that occur in the United States each year.

It’s important to be aware of the surfaces you are walking on at all times.  Snow covered surfaces can be uneven and, if left untreated, can hold hidden dangers beneath them like ice or other objects.  With this in mind, there are several ways you can reduce your risk of slips, falls, and potential injuries.

“We definitely see an increase in injuries from slips and fall accidents during the winter months. Be aware of your surroundings. Watch icy steps, sidewalks and driveways. Be careful stepping on and off buses and in and out of cars.”

Keith Stube, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon, WNY Knee and Orthopedic Surgery

Best Ways to Keep Your Balance

The physical therapists at Kenmore Mercy Hospital’s AthletiCare Department have a few tips to help you get a grip during icy conditions.

Wear the Right Footwear – Appropriate footwear will help reduce your risk of a slip and/or fall. Avoid boots and shoes that have smooth surfaces on the soles and heels. Instead, wear footwear with non-slip rubber or neoprene grooved soles. This will provide you with extra traction.

Plan Ahead – When possible, give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Use extra care when getting in and out of vehicles and buildings, and keep on designated walkways that have been shoveled and salted.

Walk Like a Penguin – Walk with your feet slightly toed out and shoulder width apart. Take smaller steps at a slower pace with your knees slightly bent. Try to spread your weight equally throughout your feet.

Know How to Fall – Knowing how to fall correctly can help reduce your risk of injury. If you start to fall, try to relax your muscles. Avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or back.  Wearing thick clothing can help to cushion your fall.

Although winter presents its own set of challenges, don’t let them get you down.  Take the extra time to safely navigate walkways, and try to enjoy the beauty of the season along the way.

If you do fall and experience any lasting pain or discomfort, be sure to schedule a visit with your primary care provider or an orthopedic specialist.

Find an Orthopedic Specialist Near You
Call (716) 923-7153

Find an Orthopedic Specialist Near You
Call (716) 923-7153