A Few Tips for Walking in Icy Conditions, Winter Weather

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst” is a saying some are sticking to as they prepare for this weekend’s ice storm.

Saint Louis University occupational therapist Julia Henderson-Kalb has some simple steps to minimize your fall risk on the ice – starting with your shoes.

“Anything with heels should definitely be avoided,” Henderson-Kalb says. “If you are going to be out on the ice, you should try to wear more rubber, non-slip sole shoes.”

Wear shoes or boots that provide traction – ones with grooved soles are best. She also suggests walking like a penguin – take slow, shuffle-like steps. Try to walk flat footed, keep your center of gravity a little bit more forward and widen your stance.

LISTEN to the full interview below:

If you find yourself slipping, here are a few things to try and keep in mind!

  • Anytime you are walking on possibly slick surfaces, keep your hands out of your coat pockets. This lowers your center of gravity while walking and increases balance. You can help break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip, although this does increase the risk of a wrist injury.
  • If you fall backwards, quickly tuck your head forward, chin to chest. Try to extend your arms away from your body and “slap” the ground with your palms and forearms. This maneuver will help prevent your head, wrists and elbows from hitting the ground.
  • If you fall to the side, try to allow your forearm to make contact with the ground first, not your hand. Lift your head to the opposite shoulder and continue to roll.
  • If you fall forward, try to roll to one side, and follow the same procedure as if you were falling to the side.
  • If you do fall, the first thing to do is assess yourself for injuries. If you have struck your head or you think you have broken a bone, attempt to get help before moving. If you think you are uninjured, go ahead and try to get up.

ERs prepare

Broken bones, severe sprains, head injuries — local emergency rooms are preparing to treat these kind of injuries and more over the next few days.

Administrative director of nursing at Saint Louis University Hospital Jennifer Garnica says they’re already in “full-on storm mode.” She says they were busy during last month’s ice storm, and expect to be even more so this weekend.

“We have an inclement weather plan and we work really closely with the emergency management system and our emergency preparedness team …” Garnica says. “and look at what alerts are out there, what we think might may be coming.”

In addition to slip-and-fall injuries, Garnica says they’re prepared to treat a lot of car accident victims as a Level-One Trauma Center.

Since they’re open 24-7, SLU Hospital makes arrangements to house doctors and nurses on the premises, provide them with food and toiletries, and even take them to and from nearby MetroLink stations.

(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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