Healthier Me: Preventing slips and falls on ice

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Thousands of people suffer serious injuries every year because they lose their footing on icy or slippery surfaces. For the elderly, falls are even more concerning.
"I did slip on the ice going out my front door and that is when I started being a little more careful," says Bev Pearson.

Pearson injured her shoulder but knew right away that she needed to be more careful. One third of all people over the age of 65 will get injured slipping on ice.

"A standing height fall that results in a wrist, shoulder, hip or vertebrae fracture is actually a clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis," says Sanford Bone Health Clinic Physician Assistant Amanda Brown.

Falls are especially dangerous for people who don't know they have weak bones. Unlike young people, they are dangerous for the elderly because their bodies can't withstand and recover from the injury.

"Our gut instinct is to put our hand out and catch ourselves and that's where a lot of times we break our wrist or our shoulder," says Brown.

What can you do to prevent slipping and injuring yourself?

"Tucking and rolling. Tuck your chin and round your shoulder and kind of roll into the direction that you're falling into," says Brown.

Also make sure to be aware of your surroundings.

"When it is slippery outside, you want to allow time. There might be ice underneath fresh snow and you have no idea," says Brown.

Shoes that have rubber soles allow your feet to grip on the ground and will help your balance. But what if you do fall?

"Sit there evaluate can I move all of my extremities, my hands, my arms, my feet, my legs. If you are able to, carefully get up so you don't fall again. If you feel you have injured yourself, go into the emergency department," says Brown.