Feeling a little apprehensive when you step outside your door onto the snow and ice? You’re not alone. The ground cover this time of year can make it feel like you are walking on eggshells in order to avoid slipping and falling.
If you have balance difficulties to begin with, you likely could benefit from balance therapy, and you may want to discuss that with your doctor.
But pretty much anyone can have difficulty navigating the winter landscape in Minnesota. Luckily, there are several things that can help prevent slipping and falling.
1. One option is to use traction devices on your shoes. Yak Tracks is one popular brand, but there are many other similar types available. They are coiled devices that slip over the bottom of your shoes, and they can give you more stability on the snow and ice.
2. Do you use a cane? Ice grip attachments can give you extra help this time of year. They typically have a hinge so you can flip the ice grip portion down when you are outdoors and then up when you go inside.
3. Having good quality shoes or boots is also very important. Check the soles of your shoes – do they still have good rubber traction, or are they wearing down? How about the ankle support – is it firm, or loose and nonsupportive? If they are starting to show wear, it’s time to replace them with good-quality, supportive ones. If you have any concerns about your feet, or you feel you could use some one-on-one help choosing the right shoe for you, specialty stores like Schuler Shoes can be helpful.
4. Walking with a wider stance can help, too. Go a little slower to give yourself time to get your footing.
5. Also, try to keep your weight slightly forward in your feet to avoid tipping backwards if you start to slip.
6. Try to stick to well-lit areas. Walking on uneven surfaces in the dark can be more difficult, especially if you have a vestibular (inner ear balance system) problem.
The National Dizzy and Balance Center offers physical therapy for people with balance difficulties. Make an appointment today!