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Winter Slips and Falls: How to Avoid, if Possible!

Living in Northeastern Wisconsin we are fortunate enough to enjoy changing seasons. Spring sprouts new growth, summer lavishes sunshine, fall brings color and winter’s glistening snow brings beauty. However, when Old Man Winter dices up ice conditions in mid-winter, we must take serious notice. Slipping and falling can occur.

At Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin, we treat many upper extremity injuries resulting from slips and falls. In an attempt to avoid such injuries, it is important to recognize potentially dangerous situations.

Slipping and falling can happen almost anywhere from indoors due to tracked-in snow to ice-covered sidewalks and steps, wood decks, and stone or brick walkways or worse yet, black ice underneath the snow! BEWARE…BE CAUTIOUS!

  • To avert injuries, dress appropriately. Wear boots or shoes with good traction. Wearing footwear with non-slip soles with deep tread is helpful (cleats or ice grippers are also useful). If wearing heels is a must, wear wide, low heels.
  • Focus on your footing – Step down, not out. Step flat footed off a curb or step. Don’t land heel first. Shorten your steps and walk flatfooted (penguin style).
  • Slow down. Most often, cold conditions tend to not slow people down; however, it is strongly suggested to slow down your actions. Being cautious with every step will help deter accidents from happening.
  • Free up your hands. Do not carry excessive numbers of packages or boxes.
  • Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets, as this could alter your balance.
  • Don’t take shortcuts – use designated walkways which should be cleared of snow and ice.
  • Use sand, salt or cat litter for traction on ice.
  • Inadequate lighting can also lead to slips and falls, as it can camouflage uneven surfaces, holes and cracks in the pavement. Park in well-lit parking lots and walk on designated walking surfaces.
  • Report icy conditions to building supervisor or maintenance personal.

If a fall does occur, avoid using your hands and arms to break the fall. Attempt to roll into the fall naturally to lessen the impact and hopefully avoid injury.

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