Two people standing on an iced over water source in winter.

Winter is here, the time where the cold makes you wish you were a hibernating bear that can just sleep in until summer time. Sadly we are human and have bills. Above all, we must embrace and survive the cold shoulder of Mother Nature and the booby traps she tries to slip us up with… ICE!

Scene from HBO's Game of Thrones with Igrid telling Jon Snow "You know nothing, Jon Snow."
“By the end of this you’ll go from “knowing nothing Jon Snow” to “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr.Freeze in Clooney’s 1997 Batman & Robin

Slipping on ice is scary! With our guide you’ll have nothing to fear and will have the knowledge to protect yourself and others. Also, if you simply have an undying passion for frozen liquids and the physics involved with someone losing friction on them, we have the information worth falling for.

In this post we will cover the 4 Horsemen of this Icepocalypse.

  • Ice Injuries & Statistics
  • Slip and Fall Prevention Methods
  • Falling or Slipping Like a Professional
  • Recovering from a Slippery Slope

Ice Injuries & Statistics

Alright I’m gonna say it… Unless your skydiving with a professional or a parachute, “falling” is dangerous! It’s cousin “slipping” isn’t very nice as well. According to the CDC, “1 out of 5 falls cause a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury”. Furthermore, each year Millions of people are treated in an emergency department for these types of injuries. For instance, in 2015 the medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 Billion!

Now that you have an idea of the scope, let’s bring it back to how slipping on ice can leave you frozen in your tracks.

Cute teddy bear with injuries and bandages.
Big ice is out to get us, don’t let them catch you slipping”

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and… Oof

  • Broken bones – most commonly wrists, hips, or tailbone
  • Muscles, sprains, and ligament strains
  • Fractures, including spinal compression fractures
  • Back Injuries
  • Concussions / Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Internal bruising and bleeding risks

Slip and Fall Prevention Methods

Wait! We know that sounded scary, but don’t lock yourself inside to wait out the Icepocalypse. We have some battle plans to help you survive and thrive this winter season!

Technique, Technique, Technique

  • Take shorter steps.
  • Walk slower.
  • Be aware of your condition and balance limits (Medications or poor health may have a negative effect).
  • Be aware of your surroundings! Look out for slipping hazards such as black ice.
Penguin slapping another penguin in the back of the head causing him to fall into the icy water.
Penguins have mastered the first 2 techniques… Kind of

Would you go to an ice skating party in a tuxedo? Penguins would, sadly were not penguins. In other words, you need to dress for success! Here’s how we gear up the Premier way:

  • Proper footwear for snowy or icy conditions
  • Dressing warm will keep your body in proper condition for better balance
  • A small bag of deicer or sand to throw in a path in front of you for better traction
  • A cellphone to call for help

Falling or Slipping Like a Professional

It happened, your falling, here’s what you do!

  • Tuck your chin in
  • Turn as your falling, focusing on landing on the side of your body
  • Keep limbs bent focusing on protecting your head (straight limbs can snap or break under impact)
  • Loosen up as you fall
  • Advanced Fallers Only: Do a barrel roll… In other words, roll with the fall. However, we don’t advise this as you could roll into another accident.
Cartoon character almost falling but professionally saves herself by regaining her balance.

Recovering From A Slippery Slope

Now what’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold! Similarly, knowing recovery techniques to heal yourself and help others. In other words, it’s good to know the basics until you can seek professional help.

Disclaimer: *Record all the details, if you followed all the preventative steps and your fall was caused by an outside force, you may need to file for some compensation depending on the severity of the incident.If any injury feels too severe, schedule for medical attention immediately.

Now that the legal side is out of the way, back to the medical ice slipping recovery process! For instance, there are 3 categories of injury that require different solutions.

  • Soft tissue injury / 2-4 weeks healing time
  • Fractures / 8-12 weeks healing time
  • Bones and Head injury / that can take even longer
Student with arm injury giving a thumbs up.
“Most injuries from a slip will (no pun intended) fall under the first category of Soft Tissue Injury. For this we recommend the R.I.C.E.R Method and No H.A.R.M Protocol.

R.I.C.E.R Method: (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral)

  • Rest: Take a break from physical activity and let your body’s natural healing process work.
  • Ice: Ironic how it destroys and heals… First, forgiveness… next, injury should be iced on and off in 20 minute intervals to reduce swelling.
  • Compression: Bandaging will help compress the injury, which will prevent any further bleeding or swelling to occur.
  • Elevation: Reduce the swelling by elevating the injury above your heart while you are resting.
  • Referral: Finding an appropriate medical professional for guidance and management. In addition, now with direct access it’s easier than ever.

No H.A.R.M Protocol: (Heat, Alcohol, Re-injury, Massage)

  • Heat: Applying heat to the injured area can cause blood flow and swelling to increase.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol and other drugs can inhibit your ability to feel your injury is becoming more aggravated. It increases blood flow and swelling as well.
  • Re-Injury: Avoid any activities that could aggravate the injury or cause further damage.
  • Massage: Massaging an injured area can promote blood flow and swelling, and ultimately do more damage if done too soon.

Above all, when your injury lies in the “fracture” category see a physical therapist with direct access for treatment and advice fast. However, if your injury lies in the  “broken bones and head damage” category, seek medical attention immediately!

Mr. Freeze from Batman and Robin saying "Let's Kick Some Ice!"
“I told you…

There you have it! You are now a little more educated and safer to yourself and the others around you as a well informed ice slip saving superhero! It was “Ice” to meet you. Now put on your ice skates, share with your friends, and thank you for reading our tips about ice safety with Premier Physical Therapy!


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