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Page added on March 14, 2014

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WINTER DANGER – Slips & Falls = Strains, Sprains & Breaks

Slipper and icy outdoor surfaces and hard interior floors that are wet are dangerous.  When you slip on an icy or a wet surface, your body tries to save you from falling so it twists to keep you upright which can cause stain to muscles.  This is the pain you feel in your back from strain to the muscles.  As you twist, you may sprain your ankle or knee.  Call your doctor to get it checked out.  Your doctor can make sure the strain or sprain is not serious.  You may need an x-ray or ultra-sound.

If you fall, it may be face first with your hands moving forward to break the fall.  This may result in serious stains, sprains and broken bones and you need to be seen by your doctor or at an Emergency Room.  If you fall backwards, your head may hit the ground.  Any fall can cause injury and should be checked to make sure nothing serious has happened.  If your head EVER hits the ground when you fall, see your doctor or go to an Emergency Room immediately.  If the fall makes you blackout or lose time, go immediately to your doctor or an Emergency Room because this is VERY serious.

If you are in a lot of pain, the bone or joint looks out of place, there is a lot of swelling, you cannot stand or move the limb, you may have broken something.  You need to go to an Emergency Room to be treated.  If you go to your doctor you will need you to go to an Emergency Room for treatment.

If EVER after falling you cannot stand without help, call 9-1-1 for an ambulance to take you to a hospital.

Dr. O.J. Doherty


Winter makes walking hard because of icy and wet surfaces.  Here are some tips to make winter walking easier.

  • If you walk with a cane, crutch or walker make sure that it has been adjusted to fit you – your height.
  • Canes and crutches can have “picks” put on the bottom of them to make it grip a bit and not slide on ice.
  • Footwear should be flat with a deep tread made with a rubber/neoprene soles which will make walking safer.
  • Take short steps or shuffle and bend forward a little bit when walking.
  • Walk slowly and keep your eyes on the ground while walking in the winter.
  • Stop from time to time to look around for danger from icicles or chunks of ice on buildings where you are walking that may fall.
  • Walk on cleaned sidewalks but if you cannot, walk against the flow of traffic as close to the curb as possible.
  • Cross streets at the corner where drivers expect you to be crossing and not in the middle of the road.
  • If there are crossing lights, obey the Walk/Don’t Walk signals and cross at Crosswalks.
  • Avoid walking when it is dark out when you cannot see your surroundings clearly.
  • If you have to walk at night, wear reflective clothing.
  • Let someone know when you are leaving, where you are going, how long it will take to get there, and then let them know when you arrive.
  • Take it slow when going down steps or walking on a driveway or hill because they are hard to clean and get icy quickly.
  • Use handrails or railings when available and especially when going down steps.
  • DO NOT run and DO NOT jump down from cars or trucks because it is difficult to get your footing and there may be ice you do not see hidden below the snow.
  • DO NOT use grocery carts to help you walk because they slide away from you on the ice.
  • Give yourself twice as long to do things in winter.
  • PLAN your errands – make a list of where you need to go, what you need to get, the easiest way to get there, and the easiest way to get them done.
  • DO NOT keep your hands free not in your pockets if you are not carrying anything.  This will make it easier to keep you balance.
  • Avoid carrying heavy loads which will put your balance off.
  • If you feel yourself falling, toss what you are carrying and protect yourself not the stuff you bought.
  • If you feel unsteady, stop and look around for another route to walk.
  • ALWAYS keep inside floors dry to avoid slipping or falling.

Dr. O.J. Doherty


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