Winter Ice Hazard Causing Slips and Falls

The Makovicka Difference

We are leaders in our profession, locally owned and operated by physical therapists who forge relationships with patients, and advocate for their care. All of our clinics have board-certified specialists on staff, meaning you get the highest level of care to maximize your recovery, and get you back to your game. We will listen, evaluate your symptoms, and create a personalized physical therapy program to meet your needs and improve your function, strength, and mobility.

The ice storm that we are experiencing has been forecasted for several days, and it came as expected. Sidewalks, streets, driveways, and steps are covered with ice, making it hazardous to be outside. But if you do need to go out, we urge you to be careful.  Allow ice melt to diminish the ice around your home to reduce the risk of a fall.

We asked Scott Keenan, director of our West Maple clinic, to share some tips to help you avoid a dangerous slip on the ice:

  • Choose a pair of insulated winter boots that have good traction.
  • Ice grippers on the bottom of your shoes or boots will provide traction.
  • Consider using a cane or walking stick to help with your balance.
  • Slow down and small steps.
  • Walk like a penguin, placing the weight of your body on your front leg. This website does a good job illustrating the proper position: http://www.aurorabasecamp.com/walking-on-ice.html

When ice is as pervasive and significant as it is with a storm like this, slips and falls can happen even if you follow these precautions. Injuries to your back or neck are common, as are bruises to shoulders, elbows, hips, knees or ankles. You may need to seek medical attention if you experience a more serious injury, such as a concussion, muscle strain or bone fracture, after a slip on the ice.

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away:

  • Inability to stand up straight or walk due to pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling, bruising, and pain at the sight of the injury that is unbearable
  • If you hit your head and experience loss of consciousness, dizziness, headache, nausea or drowsiness

Regardless of your injury, after a fall of any kind, you should take it easy! Rest and ice can go a long way in helping you recover from a fall more quickly. If you still have pain or your symptoms are not improving after a few days, it may be an indication that the injury was more serious than you initially thought. If you hit your head and are still experiencing dizziness, loss of balance, headaches, nausea or sensitivity to light, you should call your doctor right away.

The physical therapists at Makovicka Physical Therapy can help you after an injury from a fall. Our experienced therapists can help with the application of modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound and electrical stimulation to the affected area to help reduce pain and swelling. Restoring mobility to the affected area will be a priority, as is vestibular rehabilitation for post-concussion management. Our therapists can help with exercises that include core stabilization to decrease the symptoms of low back pain caused by a fall.

Be careful – as temperatures dip below freezing and the moisture refreezes, the risk of slips and falls will increase. Black ice can be a real threat as well. If you are concerned about a possible injury after a fall on the ice, call a Makovicka Physical Therapy clinic near you. We will help you get back on your feet!