At Cairnhill Physiotherapy we’re used to treating athletes who have suffered an injury on the sports field. But we’re just as used to helping people who have injured themselves while taking a simple walk around the block! Slips and falls, and the sprains and muscular discomfort that come with them are common. They’re even more prevalent in winter when it gets wet and slippery outside. For all that, you’re probably still keen to get out of the house, especially if lockdown has hampered your usual level of activity. So, to help you stay upright during your walk, here is some simple advice.
Generally speaking, we advise you to think small if walking conditions are less than ideal. By that, we mean smaller steps that maintain your centre of balance as you walk. To do this, ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart, as this will give you a solid base for movement. Be sure to slightly bend your knees and keep the body as loose as possible. If you prefer, you can reduce the length of your stride right down to a shuffle instead of a walk, particularly if conditions are very wet or slippery. This will also help with your stability and footing.
Other suggestions include using walking poles, or a walking cane; some even come with a retractable ice pick for extreme conditions! And if you use a walker to stay mobile, it’s still safe as long as the base or wheels continue to have traction on a slippery surface
No matter how you move, choose the clearest and safest path you can. Use public footpaths or walking tracks that you know are well maintained. Paths that are bumpy or uneven during perfect conditions will be even worse in winter. And ensure your own property is clear of any hazards: the worst falls often happen at home so clean pathways and any high traffic areas around the entrances to your house. One great tip is to sweep up wet leaves off the path: left alone, they’ll become a soggy and slippery hazard.
The team at Cairnhill Physiotherapy wish you many kilometres of safe and slip-free walking this winter. It’s important to stay active at any time, especially when we’re being told to stay at home as much as we can. Just remember to think small, as this will help you stay on your feet and avoid the need for physiotherapy. But if the worst happens, we’re here to help so contact us without delay.