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5 Tips for Preventing Winter Slips & Falls

Every year, December brings us holidays and wintry weather.

Every year in our clinics we encounter patients who have fallen while walking on the snow and ice. Their injuries range from minor sprains and strains to fractures, which occasionally require surgery.  The incidence of falls often is higher in the elderly.  Statistics show that about one-third of the elderly population over the age of 65 fall each year.

To prevent slips and falls this winter:

1)     Take your time to get to your destination

2)     Wear footwear with rubber soles to help provide better traction

3)     Take small steps to maintain your center of balance

4)    Avoid carrying heavy bags, especially on steps.  Having both hands free helps to maintain balance

5)     Hold onto the car for support when getting in or out

Research shows that people who are less active are more likely to fall because they lack strength and balance.  Therefore, a regular exercise program is highly recommended for fall prevention. As with all exercise programs, make sure to consult with your physician before beginning the program.

Here are several exercises that will help strengthen your legs: 

1)     Sit to stand transition: sit toward the edge of your chair and tighten your abdominal muscles. Shift your weight slightly forward and stand.  It is OK to use the armrests for support. Perform 5-10 repetitions 1-2 times per day.

2)     Standing mini-squat with support: stand with your feet shoulder width apart with hands on the backrest of the chair.  Squat to a comfortable level, keeping your knees in line with your toes.  Perform 5-10 repetitions 1-2 times per day.

3)     Seated knee extension: sit tall in your chair and slowly straighten your legs, trying to tighten the muscles in the front.  Perform 5-10 repetitions 1-2 times per day.

4)     Seated heel raises: sit in your chair with both feet on the ground.  Slowly raise your heels off the ground.  Perform 5-10 repetitions 1-2 times per day.

 

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