Winter is finally here and its first impression was one of 10mph highway speeds and bumper-to-bumper exit routes. While most people prepare for these conditions by making sure their car is equipped with snow tires, a full tank of gas, and an emergency kit, there are a few other items you might want to ask Santa for this year.
Sadly, winter marks a time of patients heading to our office as a result of a slip and fall. Icy sidewalks and walkways challenge what is an already lack of balance for most of the population. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates nearly 2.8 million individuals above the age of 65 are treated in the ER due to injuries sustained from falls.1 It’s reported that one out of five falls results in a serious injury including a broken bone or head injury.2,3
As dismal as it seems, there are some “winter hacks” that you can use to prevent yourself from being a statistic.
The key this winter (and every winter) is to prevent falling. Unfortunately, falling once doubles your chances of falling again.3 If you’re looking to keep your feet on the ground this year, I highly suggest grabbing yourself some YakTrax and Nordic poles, but please don’t neglect your strength and balance deficits!
1. O’Loughlin J et al. Incidence of and risk factors for falls and injurious falls among the community-dwelling elderly. American journal of epidemiology, 1993, 137:342-54.
2. Alexander BH, Rivara FP, Wolf ME. The cost and frequency of hospitalization for fall–related injuries in older adults. American Journal of Public Health 1992;82(7):1020–3.
3. Sterling DA, O’Connor JA, Bonadies J. Geriatric falls: injury severity is high and disproportionate to mechanism. Journal of Trauma–Injury, Infection and Critical Care 2001;50(1):116–9
4. El-Khoury Fabienne, Cassou Bernard, Charles Marie-Aline, Dargent-Molina Patricia. The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall induced injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials BMJ 2013; 347 :f6234