Winter has hit us early this year in Oakville Ontario. Winter weather, especially early winter weather, can sometimes leave us unprepared. In our Oakville Physio and wellness clinic, we will often see people who have had a slip or fall, or had a car accident after a snow fall or ice storm.
While slips and falls can happen at any age, they are happen more often as we get older. This does not have to be something that is inevitable. There are ways to help prevent slips and falls. The good news is that this prevention can begin at any age.
Here are Some Tips to Prevent Slips and Falls in Snowy / Ice Weather:
Wear proper footwear.
Using boots and shoes with good treads is a must. Shoes and boots should also fit well and be tied. There are also devices that can be put over the bottoms of boots and shoes that provide more grip and tread. Your Chiropodist of Podiatrist is an excellent resource to direct you towards the best footwear for you.
Remember, it is just fine to change your footwear for fancier occasions once you are in your destination. It’s not worth it to take risks for the sake of fashion.
Walk slowly and carefully.
There were infographics going around last year advising to walk like a penguin in icy conditions. This carries over this year. Take smaller steps and plant with a flat foot. This helps reduce the risk of your foot sliding out in front of you.
Clean your shoes when you go inside.
Knock off snow and slush before entering a building. Use the carpets provided to dry your shoes. This will help ensure the floor stay dry and your shoes themselves will not to slippery.
Watch for slippery floors when entering a building.
It’s impossible to get everything and many people will carry snow into a building on their shoes. This all adds up and can create slipper spots, that may or may not be visible. Be mindful and continue to take your time and be aware of the surfaces you are walking on.
Test the area first.
This goes for both indoors and outdoors. if you are unsure if a surface is dry, wet, or otherwise slippery test it first. This means tapping it with your foot or gently sloping your foot. If it’s slippery or unsafe, consider taking another route.
Prepare your body.
It is not a surprise that snow and icy weather come every year. What is also true is that as we age, we may lose strength and agility. While the winter season is inevitable, becoming de-conditioned and more prone to falls does not have to be for most people.
Maintaining a basic exercise program is a must, from a Physiotherapists perspective. This includes a strengthening component. This strengthening component should also move your bodies in novel ways. Be resilient. At our Oakville Physio clinic we offer a supervised exercise program that includes strength and balance components for people 65 and over. There are many programs like this at local community centres. Other options can include working with a Physiotherapist, Kinesiologist, or qualified Personal Trainer.
It is never too late to start a program to strengthen support your body for life. If there are concerns regarding a group setting, then beginning in a one on one setting, possibly with family support to continue are also options!
Stay safe this winter with the tips above. We’re only just getting started!