Welcome to the winter that does not want to give up. It has recently been reported that 94 million Americans have had enough of this winter. For many of us the thought of warm weather makes us smile, but in the meantime we have to be sure that there are no falls and we stay upright. Walking on snow and ice can be tricky and even when taking our time there can be slipping and sliding. Falling is one of the major injuries reported in the winter and with the added snow and ice this year the injuries are rising.
Tips for Foot Safety on Snow and Ice
- Remain Vigilant– Although pavement that has been cleaned off may look like it is safe be cautious. Consider all areas that are wet to be a slipping hazard. There may be a thin sheet of ice that you do not see and when you start to slip it is hard to catch yourself.
- The Penguin Walk– Sounds funny, but it really does work! By pointing your feet out slightly and walking you are changing your center of gravity. Bending slightly at the knees and walking like a penguin will get you across any icy areas safer.
- Take Your Time– It seems we are always in a hurry and trying to multitask, now is the time to slow down a bit. How many times have you left a building and while walking across a parking lot you are fishing the keys out of your bag? This is where slips and falls can happen because your attention is not on the ice and snow that is under your feet. Foot safety on ice and snow is much better when you are concentrating on just the walking.
- Leaving a Vehicle– Be careful when stepping out of vehicles and use the vehicle for support.
- Where to Walk– When entering a building be sure to walk only in the areas that have been cleaned. Follow the path or walkway where there has been salt put down.
- Where Appropriate Shoes– Do not wear any type of shoe that has a smooth bottom. Try to wear boots and shoes that have raised patterns or large treads. If you have to wear dress shoes for work just put them in a bag and change once you are in the safety of the building. For extra grip, there are traction devices that can be purchased and attached to your shoes. There are also boots available with cleats for better traction while on the snow and ice.
- Outside Stairways– Always hold onto the handrail even if you have been up and down the same stairs a million times.
- Melting Ice and Snow– When the temperature goes above freezing watch for water on top of the ice and snow. The melting can cover the ice that is still present and may not be seen in time.
There will just be times when a slip on the ice is something that you did not see coming. If you do slip and hurt your foot or ankle then it is best to have it checked by your local foot specialist. The longer you let the injury go unattended means the more damage that can happen.