As the colder months approach us, risk of orthopedic injuries such as fractures and sprains drastically increase. Prevention is key when maintaining a healthy body to ensure unnecessary pain or stiffness.
Common Winter-Related Injuries
A slip or fall can happen to anyone. However, older adults are more susceptible to injury and with colder temperatures and winter elements, and these injuries can increase the magnitude of the injury. Icy sidewalks and snow-covered roads can lead to minor or major injuries in regards to falls. Winter weather falls can cause:
Soft tissue injuries: A soft tissue injury includes sprains, tears, as well as damage to the ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Bruising and swelling can occur; however, not all soft tissue injuries present with these symptoms making an accurate diagnosis more difficult.
Spinal cord injuries: As the spinal cord houses the central nervous system, injuring the spinal cord can lead to significant damage and possibly cause paralysis. When an injury occurs to the spinal cord, the potential for mobility issues and pain increases.
Sprains and fractures: The most common slip and fall injury is a sprain or a fracture. This typically occurs when the body lands awkwardly on the arm, leg, ankle, or wrist.
When a slip and fall occurs, your first instinct may be to stand up and try to brush it off as pain may not be present right away. If the pain does present itself immediately following or even hours or days later, it is best to seek medical attention if the pain lasts longer than a day. An orthopedic doctor will evaluate your injury and be able to diagnose best and treat your injury.
Treating Slip and Falls Accident Injuries
Treatment for slip and fall injuries will vary based upon the severity of the injury. Many injuries are first treated with ice, which helps to decrease the swelling and bruising. This method should be applied for 15 minutes at a time throughout the day within the first 24 hours following the injury.
With many slip and fall injuries, ice, and rest provide a great deal of relief and can aid in the overall healing process. In regards to more significant injuries, your orthopedic specialist may suggest physical therapy, which will increase healing capabilities as well as improve function.
When the weather is at its worst, it is always best to stay indoors to avoid being subjected to dangerous elements and risking injury. If you must venture out into the elements, try implementing some of these prevention techniques to keep yourself safe:
- Take your time and use slower, shorter steps
- Wear footwear with extra traction or grip
- Use salt to melt ice covering outdoor surfaces
- Avoid carrying large or heavy loads while walking on slippery surfaces
Most importantly, when you feel yourself beginning to fall, it is recommended that you tuck and roll. Relax your body, and always tuck your chin to avoid causing injury to your chin and your head. When tucking your body, you are allowing the body to feel impact evenly across the body, taking the direct hit off one specific area.
Although prevention is possible, even the best prepared can still endure accidents. Our Atlanta orthopedic doctors will provide you with quality care by diagnosing and treating a wide array of injuries. Contact AICA Orthopedics for all of your orthopedic needs! Dial (404) 855-2141 for an appointment today!