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Keep Your Balance in Winter Weather

alex-iby-S7B18sf6hh8-unsplashFalls are a leading cause of disability in people over age 65, causing broken bones and injuries that are hard to recover from at an older age. Unfortunately, in the winter, the number of falls may increase thanks to wintry weather.

Even in a warmer climate like Richmond, sidewalks, stairs and roads can get slippery and dangerous. To prevent disability, the physical therapists at Bon Secours Physical Therapy recommend following these tips all winter long:

Get Some Traction

If you’ll need to trek outside in the winter frequently, invest in shoes or boots with a good tread designed to prevent falls and keep your feet warm. You can also buy tips for your cane or walker that are designed to stay still on ice. Having good support with your feet is the first step to avoiding slips.

Build in Extra Time

Getting in a hurry can increase your risk for falls. Whenever you have an appointment or a place to be, build in extra time to allow yourself to walk slowly from your house to your car and your car to your destination. Whenever you get out of a car, take time to plant your feet firmly before standing.

Prep Sidewalks and Stairs

If you know wintry weather is coming, spread rock salt on your outdoor surfaces to help prevent ice from forming. If possible, you should avoid stairs altogether. If you can’t avoid stairs, be extra careful in preparing them from winter weather and ensure you have a handrail you can hold onto.

Watch Where You Are Going

Black ice can be hard to spot. Stay on cleared sidewalks and paths as much as possible and look down with your eyes only. If you bend your entire head down, you may throw off your balance.

You should also light paths around your home to make ice easier to see and be extra careful when walking through shadowed or dark areas, which can hide ice.

Join a Balance and Falls Prevention Program

At Bon Secours Physical Therapy, our Balance and Falls Prevention Program provides specialized screenings and exercises to determine your risk for falls. Our specially trained physical therapists test different aspects of your health that may increase your fall risk, including balance, coordination, and sensation in your feet. They can also assess your home to ensure it is as safe as possible.

Based on your assessment, they can create a personalized fall prevention program that includes exercises to build strength, increase coordination, and education on how to prevent falls. Lower your risk for falls year-round; contact Bon Secours Physical Therapy today to schedule your first appointment.