Avoiding Fractures in Winter Weather
By Maisie WeinschenkOrthopaedics February 27, 2013
“We see a definite an increase in injuries, including fractures, which are breaks in the bone, resulting from slips and falls or accidents involving motor vehicles during harsh weather conditions,” said Michael D. Stover, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of orthopaedic surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We often see patients with fractures of the wrist and shoulder or hip from people trying to break their falls with outstretched hands. Broken ankles are also one of the most common fracture types and can be caused by slipping and twisting the ankle while navigating slippery surfaces.”
- Check the weather – Proper clothes and footwear will make it easier to navigate wintery conditions. Wear winter boots with good traction and avoid shoes with smooth, slippery bottoms.
- Take your time – When the weather is adverse, take extra time to get between destinations. Falls increase when people are rushing, so avoid running for buses, or trying to beat traffic when crossing a street.
- Brace yourself – When entering and exiting a vehicle, support yourself before standing and use the car door for stability.
- Go hands free –Your arms help you balance, so avoid heavy purses, coffee, or holding your phone out in front of you while walking on icy or snow-covered surfaces.
- Walk cautiously – Be aware of surroundings and recognize if a surface is slippery or uneven. Take small, cautious steps and stay low to the ground walking with curled toes and a flat foot.
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