Prevent falls on ice. Winter walking tips from an orthopedist.

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

I must admit I slip on the ice frequently.  Sometimes I fall.  Luckily, I have always gotten back up with only my pride bruised.  However, I do see serious injuries after every significant snowfall.  You really don’t want a cast for Christmas, do you?

Dr. Ronald Grelsamer, a knee and hip orthopedic doctor from Mt. Sinai hospital in New York, gives his winter walking tips to avoid serious injuries.

  1. Move your feet ever so slightly apart as you walk, for more balance.
  2. If the area is really slippery, bend your knees slightly as you walk.
  3. When walking down a slippery slope, walk sideways, but do not cross one foot over the other.  Bend your knees slightly.
  4. Protect your dominant arm so if you fall, you will not be fully bracing with it.  You can do this by grabbing on to the lapel of your coat or using that hand for carrying.
  5. Be especially careful when exiting trains, buses or cars.

I would add to be aware.  I usually fall when I’m not paying attention to what I am walking on.  Even then, that black ice can fool anyone.

Does anyone have additional tips?

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13 Responses to “Prevent falls on ice. Winter walking tips from an orthopedist.”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    I’ve had a few slips here and there :-) Haven’t broken anything yet! Lots of sprains and bruises, lol! Thanks for the tips, and happy holiday to you and the family, Dr. Thank you so much for your support!!

    Dr. Js last blog post..Nibbles: Lack of D may cause girls to gain weight, the school without sugar and caffeine in pregnancy causes heart problems

  2. cathy Says:

    He’s another – make sure that you wear shoes with a good, lugged sole for walking on the slippery stuff. The grippier soles make a big difference! Or maybe buy some Yak Trax when you know you’ll need to walk on ice – they slip on and off pretty easily.

    cathys last blog post..Just for fun…

  3. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Dr. J, I broke my leg on the ice while in college.

  4. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Cathy, I love YakTrax. I somehow lost one of mine the other day and tried using just one. Do not try. Did not work.

  5. Steve Parker, M.D. Says:

    I recall that diet doctor Robert C. Atkins died from a slip on the ice. I guess he sustained a head injury.


  6. Sagan Says:

    Good tips. And like Cathy says, good shoes are essential! Sometimes I wear ice grip thingys that just strap onto the bottom of your boots. They’re super cheap and add that little bit extra traction.

  7. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Dr. Parker, I believe you are correct.

  8. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Sagan, are you talking about the YakTrax?

  9. FatFighterTV Says:

    Ewwww- ice. Just one more thing I hate about winter. Hate having to be so careful, especially because I am an accident prone clutz anyway. I wish I lived in Hawaii.

    FatFighterTVs last blog post..Holiday Lights wine charms winner!

  10. Sagan Says:

    Haven’t got a clue what they’re actually called… they’re made of rubber and have little wire spirals for traction. But even if they aren’t what you’re thinking of, I think I’ll start calling them YakTrax anyways. I like that name:)

  11. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Fatfighter, get a pair of YakTrax. No I don’t get a commission.

  12. Rita Says:

    These are great tips for avoiding injury when walking on ice. We’re having a lot of snow and ice in the Pacific Northwest lately. It’s really irratic weather. The worst in decades. I’ll blog about the ice tips on my blog The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide at


  13. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Thanks Rita. That would be great. Your blog looks fantastic. I am putting it in my favorites.

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