Ice, Ice, Baby!

With temperatures set to plummet this week, we may well see some ice and snow again. Slippery surfaces can be hazardous and many injuries are caused by falling or slipping on ice. However, with a little bit of preparation and care, accidents can hopefully be avoided.

Here are some useful tips from the British Chiropractic Association to keep you safe & sound in the wintery weather:

FOOTWEAR

  • Wear waterproof shoes with thermal socks or insoles. This will help keep your feet warm. Cold, numb feet are less able to sense and adapt to changing conditions.
  • Footwear should have a solid raised tread on the sole to maximise your grip. Or you can attach ‘ice grippers’ to your shoes, which have studs to help give a sure footing on the ice.
  • Shoes or boots should be supportive, with firm ankle support to prevent you ‘going over’ on your ankle and help you feel more stable in slippery conditions.  If shoes have laces, they should be firmly laced to give a close fit without limiting the circulation.
  • What to avoid: Wellingtons can be practical and keep your feet dry, but they often don’t give enough support and have poor grip. Also avoid walking outside in leather or other smooth-soled shoes.

CLOTHING

  • Clothing should be warm and allow you to move freely. Anything that impedes you from walking ‘normally’ could make you more prone to falling over or lead to you walking in an unnatural way.
  • Layers will help keep you cosy
  • Keep your extremities warm with a hat and gloves

PREPARATION

  • Build up your balance and stability at home by standing on one leg at a time, gradually increasing the length of time you balance.
  • Try to avoid alcohol. Not only will you be more prone to feeling the adverse effects of the cold (alcohol causes loss of body heat) but it may also cause you to take risks that you wouldn’t normally do and, of course, make you more unsteady on your feet.
  • Keep topped up with warm drinks to keep your temperature up.
  • When you are out and about, keep your hands out of your pockets (use gloves) so that you can use your arms for better balance.
  • Watch out for parts of the pavement that may have been in shadow or under trees, where there is more likely be black ice, but make sure you pay attention to what is ahead too!

HOW TO FALL 

If the worst happens and you do fall, try to curl up and ‘roll’ with the fall and stay relaxed. This will minimise any jarring to your body. Whilst it may be an automatic reaction, try to avoid putting your hands out to save you, as this may cause wrist injuries.