Winter Safety: Avoiding Slips and Falls

Our Healthsure team share some advice to reduce the risk of slips and falls this winter.

Up until now we’ve been quite fortunate with the UK weather this winter. However, the forecasted heavy snow and ice means that conditions will be much riskier for many people and it’s during such spells that our physiotherapists see a spike in weather-related injuries. Here are a few tips and simple precautions you can take to avoid sustaining any injuries over the coming weeks.

  1. Consider the best route to your destination and allow a little extra time to get there
  2. Wear flat, sturdy shoes or boots with a good grip – rubber soles provide suitable traction on ice and snow
  3. Avoid walking on icy surfaces – if you can’t, take smaller steps and keep your knees slightly bent to improve your grip and balance
  4. Use handrails where possible
  5. Avoid carrying heavy items whilst walking, especially on steps
  6. Keep both hands free for balance, rather than in your pockets
  7. Be aware of curbs and uneven surfaces hidden by snow – only step where you can clearly see the surface beneath
  8. Use a walking stick or a Nordic pole to provide some extra stability
  9. Don’t make unnecessary visits out – If adverse weather is forecast try to plan your activities in advance
  10. Be particularly careful getting into and out of vehicles and hold on for support
  11. Keep paths outside your home clear of debris, water, ice and snow
  12. Use door mats when entering a building to remove moisture from the soles of your shoes – this will help protect you, as well as others who follow, from having to walk on wet or slippery surfaces

I’ve already fallen, what shall I do?

No matter how fit you are or what you were doing when you fell, if you do slip and fall it is advisable to be appropriately assessed by a chartered physiotherapist. Physiotherapists are experts in assessing, treating and rehabilitating any musculoskeletal injuries caused by a fall.

Please note: if a fall results in loss of consciousness, an open wound or severe bruising you should report to your local A&E. If you are uncertain about the severity of your injury, call 111 where you can seek further advice and support. At Healthsure, all our physiotherapists are chartered and also trained in assessing for more severe injuries and will be able to guide you to the appropriate place.

If you have any further questions or would like to book an appointment, you can reach us through any of the following:

Helping the elderly

The elderly are particularly vulnerable during periods of cold weather. While it is a threat to all ages, the result of falling as an elderly person can have more serious consequences. A simple muscle sprain can cause significant pain and suffering, however a fracture could result in hospitalisation, surgery or immobility. If you have an elderly parent, relative or neighbour, you can help them avoid injury by offering to go to the shops for them or grit their garden path.