Prevent The Winter Tumble
It’s that time of year again and clinics are about to be flooded with patients who have taken a tumble in slippery winter conditions. A fall on black ice can cause devastating injuries and put a real damper on the winter season and, as much as we love spending quality time with our patients, we hate to see you spending your valuable vacation days on our tables.
Five Injury Prevention Tips
So here are a few helpful hints to keep you on your feet now that winter has arrived!
- Be prepared – gone are the days of spoiled West Coasters basking in the glory of our moderate winters. You can’t ignore the subzero temperatures and the snow and ice that come along with it during our newfound winter season. That means you have no excuse to not be prepared for the elements. Being prepared means having the right tools to deal with winter conditions. A snow shovel to clear sidewalks and driveways, salt to manage icy surfaces and hired snow removal for larger areas will all make a big difference as the temperatures dip below zero. Being prepared also means anticipating harsh weather conditions before they arrive. Pay attention to the forecasts and prepare yourself accordingly.
- Don’t be in a hurry – Many falls occur because we are rushing out the door or hopping into the car quickly and not being careful of where we place our feet or where our centre of gravity is. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going and anticipate that commutes are going to take longer than they normally would. We all know the ferry schedules by heart so give yourself plenty of time. Slow and steady wins the race this time of year.
- Learn how to fall and get back up again– No matter how careful we are, slips and falls inevitably will happen. How gracefully we plummet to the earth can make a big difference on how a fall impacts your health long-term. Awkwardly outstretched arms and flailing limbs are a recipe for fractures and dislocations. Find a soft surface like a bed or mattress and practice the old “tuck ‘n roll” so that you can land relatively safely when a fall does happen. Not sure where to start when it comes to the art of the flop? Find a professional who does! Our Kinesiologist Rachel and Physiotherapist Greg can show you the ropes. Once you’re on the ground, make sure you can safely and easily get back on your feet. If you know you have trouble going from a seated position on the ground to your feet without something or someone to pull you up, work with a professional and get them to show you the safe ways to get back on your feet.
- Footwear– As cute as those heels may be, they’re not designed for snowy landscapes. Heels, flip-flops, and even your standard dress shoes are not designed for traction on slippery surfaces. Make sure you have a good pair of winter boots made for traction on icy surfaces. They may not match that cardigan but they could save you a trip to the emergency room!
- Practice makes perfect– Balance and proprioceptive training can help you build strength and stability to navigate black ice and snow drifts. Working with a kinesiologist, personal trainer or any health professional competent in exercise prescription should be able to give you a basic at home program for fall prevention. Lucky for us, we’ve got numerous options on the island for great movements coaches. Not sure where to start? Give us a call!
So be safe out there this season and hopefully we won’t be seeing you too soon! But, if a fall does happen, we’re always here to help!