Archive for January 10th, 2010

Dont slip!
Image by Great Beyond via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Last night I joined my fellow Chicagoans in a common winter “sport”: I fell on the ice. I was lucky that I was well padded and fell backwards onto my backpack on my outside stairs. I have a huge bruise on my thigh but overall, I am OK.

This time of year, not everyone is so lucky. Falls on ice can lead to broken bones in odd places: hips, elbows, even jaws if you fall forward and  your chin hits a cement curb. My brother is a radiologist and he tells me this time of year he sees far too many bone fractures due to slips and falls on the ice.

Protect Yourself On The Ice

How can you protect yourself from falling on the ice?  Here are some tips from Canadian Senior Years:

  • Wear boots or overshoes with soles. Avoid walking in shoes that have smooth surfaces, which increase the risk of slipping.
  • Walk consciously. Be alert to the possibility that you could quickly slip on an unseen patch of ice. Avoid the temptation to run to catch a bus or beat traffic when crossing a street.
  • Walk cautiously. Your arms help keep you balanced, so keep hands out of pockets and avoid carrying heavy loads that may cause you to become off balance.
  • Walk “small.” Avoid an erect, marching posture. Look to see ahead of where you step. When you step on icy areas, take short, shuffling steps, curl your toes under and walk as flatfooted as possible.
  • Remove snow immediately before it becomes packed or turns to ice. Keep your porch stoops, steps, walks and driveways free of ice by frequently applying ice melter granules. This is the best way to prevent formation of dangerous ice patches. Using a potassium-based melter, such as Safe Step, instead of salt will prevent damage to concrete, grass and other vegetation or to carpets and floors should you track in some.
  • If You Do Fall, How to Fall Safely

    But what if you fall anyway like I did? How can you lesson the damage that can be done by your fall? Sandra Gimpel, a 3rd degree black belt Karate instructor and Hollywood stunt woman who earns a living falling in movies and television commercials, has tips for safely falling. “It’s important to tuck your body, lift your head and avoid trying to break the fall with a hand, which can cause a wrist injury,” says Gimpel. “The idea is to make yourself as small as possible by rolling up into a ball.”

    Read Gimpel’s approach to practicing safe falls here.

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