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Young couple with dog walking in the snowy village back to camera

Winter Fall Prevention: How Can You Avoid Falling? 

Winter Fall Prevention: How Can You Avoid Falling? 

Writer / Dr. Ripley Worman, Medical Director of Orthopedic Surgery at IU Health West Hospital
Photography Provided
Winter Fall Prevention

Young couple with dog walking in the snowy village back to camera

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls lead to serious injury, and 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. Slipping and falling is a serious risk that comes with ice and snow. Here are a few tips to avoid falling this winter, and information on when you should see an orthopedic specialist.

What are some ways to avoid falling this winter? 

There are many ways to avoid slipping and falling in the winter, but the most important thing to do is to be careful and be aware of your surroundings. If you feel like the ground is too slick to walk on, or go up or down an incline, then try and find an alternate route. Take your time and remember to wear proper footwear with good grip. During snowy or icy weather, stay indoors if you can, but if you need to go out, ensure your driveway and sidewalks are shoveled and clear. You may need to seek help from a family member, friend or neighbor to safely exit your home. When entering a building, remember to wipe your feet to remove excess water and ice that might make you more prone to slipping and falling. Inside your home, keep the ground clear of small items that may pile up in the winter and present a hazard to trip and fall over. Maintaining an active lifestyle and a strong core can also help improve your stability and prevent falling. Talk with your doctor about exercises to improve your core strength.

When should I go to an orthopedic specialist?

Unfortunately, slips and falls still do happen. When they do, it can be hard to gauge the severity of any injuries. If you have any concerns, talk with your primary-care doctor or an orthopedic specialist. An orthopedic specialist is someone who specializes in injuries and diseases of the skeletal system, including bones and muscles. As orthopedic specialists, we can confirm the severity of the injury and offer treatment options. According to the CDC, half of people aged 65 and older fall and never tell their doctors, but there should be no shame in seeking guidance from a medical professional. Even if the fall seems minor, it can be valuable to make an appointment, to rule out potential injury and for peace of mind.

If you are concerned about falling this winter, please consult your doctor about precautions you can take.

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