5 steps to stay on your feet this winter

A man and woman with their arms around each other walk away into the snow.

Jan. 10, 2019—When the chill of winter settles in, even a short walk from your front door to your driveway can become a dangerous journey. You're more likely to slip and fall when surfaces are snowy, icy and slippery.

Anybody can take a fall in winter weather conditions. But the risks are especially high for seniors, 3 million of which are treated in emergency departments every year for injuries related to a fall.

For safer walking, no matter your age, consider these tips from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society and others:

Gear up. Choose cold-weather boots with grooved soles made from rubber or other nonslip materials.

If you encounter ice, try to go around it. Look for a nearby snowy or grassy patch that you can walk on for better traction.

Beware of black ice. It may look like a glazed or wet spot on a sidewalk.

Slow down. Take shorter steps, and walk with your knees slightly bent. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you're going so you won't be tempted to walk quickly to your car or the bus stop.

Use de-icer on walkways. And remove snow before it piles up. Snow removal can be strenuous work. If you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before you shovel. Or better yet, have someone else shovel it for you.

Additional sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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