Our physiotherapy team at the Holland Centre has some tips for walking safely during the winter months. Adopting these tips may help reduce your risk of a fall.
Proper shoes, good treads. Wear proper shoes with good treads. If you work outside, or have shoes with less-than-ideal treads, add grips or spikes, such as the Yaktrax, to your footwear. These are available at shops like Shoppers Home Health or Canadian Tire. Take spikes and the Yaktrax off when you get indoors (slippery on indoor flooring).
Careful with crutches. If you use a cane or crutches, buy ice prongs to use in icy or snowy conditions.
See the light. Walk on well-lit paths that have been cleared of snow and ice.
Texters beware. Stay alert. Watch where you are going. Don’t text and walk!
Keep your specs about you. Be sure to wear glasses and/or hearing aids if you need them. Balance requires all of our senses.
A balancing act. If you are unsure of your balance, practice indoors. Practice single-leg balance exercises (stand on one foot, then the other) near a support until you feel more confident.
Don’t rush. Slow down. Take your time. Don’t take risks, like climbing over snow banks. Better to be safe but late than injured on the way.
Get fit. Reduce your risk of falls by improving your overall strength and balance. Visit a physiotherapist to learn more about ways to do that.