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Slippery slopes

Dec 17, 2014 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Orthopaedic physicians at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital want us all to be safe now that cold weather is here. They’ve even come up with some advice on how to avoid falling on ice:

1. Strengthening exercises will improve balance: Improved balance when walking on ice makes all the difference to avoid a slip and fall. Exercises such as standing on one leg, toe raises and hip flexors can strengthen hips, knees and ankles. Doing simple exercises at home or at the gym can strengthen hips, knees and ankles and help improve balance.

2. “Do the penguin shuffle”: If you must walk on ice, walking in a shuffle or moving your feet only slightly apart provides better balance than your normal stride. Bending your knees as you walk just slightly will also help.

3. “Sideways on inclines”: When walking on an incline that is covered in ice, turn sideways and avoid the “normal” walking motion of crossing one foot over the other. It is safer to take a sidestep and bring your other foot along to meet your lead foot. Walking in this unusual method while bending your knees allows for better balance.

4. Protect your dominant arm: Falls occur quickly and it is common to use your arms to break your fall, leading to arm fractures and tears. To avoid injury to your dominant arm, hold an object or a bag in your dominant hand, leaving only the other arm to break your fall.

5. Be Aware: Be aware of your surroundings to avoid visible ice. Take care when exiting cars, buses and trains or when walking up and down outdoor stairs and keep your eyes open for patches of ice.

--Sarah Hagerty
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