Walk like a penguin on snow, ice to prevent falls

SAGINAW (WJRT) - (02/11/19) - Changing the way you walk on ice and snow may help you safely navigate the conditions.

Covenant HealthCare's MedExpress facilities have seen an uptick in people coming in with bumps, bruises, strains and other pain in the last couple of weeks.

Martha Kramer, a physical therapist, said taking cues from penguins can help.

"You kind of walk slow with your feet apart and slide it along the ice," Kramer explained. "You're much more stable with a wider base, and more of the surface of your foot is contacting the ice at a time."

Kramer said be sure to keep your arms out of your pockets and use them for balance.

Most people walk heel to toe, but on the ice and snow it can spell disaster.

"Put that heel down, this leg is on dry cement, this leg happens to be on a slick icy, shoop! You're out," Kramer demonstrated.

Kramer said being aware of your surroundings can go a long way, and so can the right winter gear. "Use good shoes, protective shoes, grippy shoes, boots," she said.

Kramer said she sees slip and fall injuries including hurt wrists, ankles, tailbones and more.

Some of the pain can be minimized if you're prepared.

"You know when you're falling sometimes you don't have a choice, you're going to go the way gravity takes you, but if can, kind of tuck and roll on to one side. You know, try to protect
yourself the best you can if you fall," Kramer said.

If you have to walk across a parking lot Kramer suggested parking near the cart corral. She said you can use the shopping cart to balance as you walk inside safely.

Kramer added slips and falls don't just impact seniors. She's seen kids, teens and young adults with slip and fall related injuries.

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