We’ve all experienced the embarrassment and pain of slipping and falling. Even young people’s bones aren’t immune to the trauma that occurs when hitting hard ground covered in ice — as we age, this becomes an even worse threat, as our bones become more brittle and susceptible to fractures.
So, not only do elderly people have to worry about mild discomfort or social embarrassment when they fall, they also have to worry about the possibility of broken bones and weeks of bed rest.
Although a loss of balance can result in a damaging fall during any time of the year, the risk is especially high in winter. People living in the northern states and in Canada often deal with iced over walkways and streets in the winter. Sometimes you can’t even notice the ice, which is called “black ice.” I know you probably don’t want to think about it yet, but it’s important to start considering how to stop these falls from happening before the nasty weather hits.
The good news is that you can reduce your risk of falling in the winter — or at any time of year — with a simple and discreet device. The “Yaktrax Walker” isn’t what it sounds like. Instead of being a large, metal walker you have to hold on to, this is actually more like a bendable shoe cover that adds traction to your step.
Have you ever seen a snowshoe? Picture the pattern on the bottom. Now, imagine that the sole is made out of a semi- elastic plastic that wraps around the bottom of your shoe or boot. The textured plastic digs into the ice in order to provide your step with excellent traction.
In fact, a recent study in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that this simple and cheap (less than $20!) device could reduce the risk of slips, falls, and related injuries in people 65 and older. A device such as this may be worth picking up before the snow starts to fly.