Nearly 200 people in Central Oregon have hurt themselves falling on ice thus far this winter, according to numbers from the St. Charles Emergency Department in Bend. While that number is way down compared to the 754 at this time a year ago, it’s more likely due to winter’s late arrival than people finding their ice footing.
So far this year, only 188 patients have sought treatment at St. Charles for injuries after falling on the ice.
“We see plenty of injuries. Mostly its back injuries. People landing on their backside and hurting their upper, middle and lower back,” said Mark Press, a nurse practitioner with Mosaic Community Health. “We see plenty of knee injuries, wrist injuries also.”
There’s several things you can do to avoid falling on ice. The easiest is to walk like a penguin with your feet flat and your arms at your sides. Pay close attention to where you are going and take small steps.
You can wear shoes better suited to the conditions, such as boots with soles designed to grip in wet and slippery conditions. And just like on your car, you can put traction devices — chains and studs — on your shoes. Yaktrax and NANOspikes just two of these.
“The snow and ice are tacky when it’s really cold. It’s those in-between times when things are melting off when it gets really tricky and you really do need something to stick into that stuff. Something metal to give you a better chance of having good traction,” said Teague Hatfield, Bend Shoe Co. owner.
Another thing you can do is learn how to fall so that you reduce the chance of injuries when you do slip and go boom.
“If you don’t have any emergent signs, rest. Take some Tylenol. Stretch at home. Most back injuries, most back pain will go away on its own,” Press said.
With freezing rain in the forecast, expect that everywhere you walk will be slippery and watch your step.