Black ice is tricky and sly. It doesn’t announce its presence. It’s virtually invisible, masquerading as regular black tar. Ice can also sneak up on you by hiding under a layer of snow. When you slip and fall on ice, foot and ankle injuries happen in a flash. Victims of falls on ice hobble into Clifton Foot & Ankle Center every winter for treatment of sprained ankles and broken bones.
What’s even worse is that you can easily smack your head on the pavement and sustain a dangerous concussion. Broken arms and wrists are common among those who slip and fall. Therefore, we recommend that you spend some time thinking about how to prevent falling, and what action to take if you do lose your balance on the ice.
Prevent falls by using extreme caution:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, our board-certified podiatrist, cautions you to keep an eye out for patches of ice when Fairfax County temperatures drop below freezing.
- If you’re walking in the dark, use a flashlight. Most smartphones now have them built into the phone.
- If you can’t avoid walking on ice, use small, shuffling steps, and keep your weight low to the ground.
- Wear thick, heavy-soled shoes or boots for best traction.
- When possible, avoid hills. Instead, choose to walk on level ground for maximum safety.
- Keep your hands empty and use your arms for balance.
If you do slip on ice, here are some tips for minimizing injuries:
- Lean forward.
- Tuck and roll.
- Try not to break your fall with your arms.
- Think like an ice skater: bend your knees, pull your arms to your chest, and fall to your side.
It takes only a second to fall on ice. If you can remember just one or two of these techniques in the heat of the moment, you can prevent serious injury. If you do injure your feet or ankles, call our Centreville, VA podiatry office at (703) 996-3000 for top-notch treatment and long-term pain management. You may also make an appointment online.