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The cold winter weather brings with it snow and ice—and the possibility of slip and fall accidents. Whether it’s ice on the sidewalk, a slick step or a light layer of ice on top of the snow, icy patches lurk everywhere during the cold months. And while a slip and fall might not seem like that big of a deal, you could end up with more than just a bruise.
“Falling at any age brings the risk of twisting an ankle, breaking a foot or wrist, or more serious injuries like a concussion or breaking a hip - but that risk increases as we age,” said John Keeley, Clinical Education Specialist at Inspira Balance Center.
“The fall may be a signal that something is throwing off your balance, and you could possibly be suffering from a vestibular disorder,” said Keeley. “Vestibular disorders and falls often lead to decreased mobility, due to fear of falling or an injury due to a fall. This can also accelerate other health complications and comorbidities.”
Falls are the leading cause of injury and injury death in people over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to age, certain medications, lower body weakness, vision problems and foot pain can also put you at risk for falls.
To lower your risk of falls, there are several things you can do:
If you have a cell phone, carry it with you at all times in case of a fall.
“If you do fall, stop and take a breath to calm yourself down. Then, determine if you are injured or not,” said Keeley. “If you are hurt, ask someone for help, or, if you’re alone and have a cell phone, call 9-1-1.”
Seek medical care immediately, even if you don’t feel hurt. “Some injuries don’t emerge for a day or two, so it’s best to get a checkup—especially if you hit your head,” said Keeley.
Whether you have fallen in the past or you are preparing for this winter, it may also be helpful to take part in a fall prevention program. At Inspira’s Balance Centers, a provider can assess your balance and develop a treatment plan to help you improve your balance and prevent future falls.
The material set forth in this site in no way seeks to diagnose or treat illness or to serve as a substitute for professional medical care. Please speak with your health care provider if you have a health concern or if you are considering adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines. For permission to reprint any portion of this website or to be removed from a notification list, please contact us at (856) 537-6772