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  • Kiley Holmes, PT

3 Exercises To Prevent Slipping In The Snow

Preventing Falls On The Ice - 3 ½ Exercises

Now that we are finally starting to get some snow, I thought it may be a good idea to provide you some exercises that can prevent slipping on ice. Or, at the very least, soften the blow when you run into the inevitable ice patch. These are exercises that I give to most of my patients once it starts getting cold.

My entire career I have been rehabbing snow mishaps - I've seen broken ankles, broken wrists, and broken hips - all of those people were doing just fine until that life changing moment. We've all seen the videos, and yes, some of them are hilarious and unavoidable, but sometimes there's something you can do.

So first off, before doing any of these exercises, it's a good idea to at least warm up your feet. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, but our feet take us everywhere and are used and abused. Sometimes it's nice to give them a little bit of attention. If you've ever gotten a pedicure you've probably had this done to you and know that it feels amazing. It should be pointed out that for some people it may be very uncomfortable, so work into it over several weeks.

What you want to do is interlace your fingers between your toes so it's like you're holding hands with your foot. From there go ahead and really start to get your toes to move around in circular motion, bending your forefoot in each direction, getting it loosened up. Do this to both sides and take your time. Give your toes a little love.

The first exercise is all about getting your feet to connect with the ground. If you did the pre-exercise work your feet are already feeling warmed up and this exercise should be a lot easier.

Standing barefoot, try and grip the floor with your toes, spreading them out. Once you feel like you've got that down, try and lift all of your toes off of the ground a couple of times. If you master that, practice lifting your big toe while keeping your other toes on the ground and then the opposite, keep your big toe on the ground while lifting all of your other toes up. There are so many versions of toe yoga that it would be a post in and of itself (maybe later), but for now, that's a good start.

The second exercise is all about learning how to maintain your stability in different weight-bearing scenarios. Standing barefoot, with your feet close together, try and bring your weight as far forward as you can while keeping hips/knees straight and feet flat on the ground. Then see how far you can lean back - a lot like trying to stand up on a train or metro.

The third exercise is all about the eccentric control of each individual leg. It sounds difficult, and it should be. Start small and slowly increase your distance. This exercise is important because it is almost a slow, controlled simulation of a slip - that way you can learn how to react to the slip.

For a carpeted surface you are going to want to invest in a furniture mover, or use a paper plate. Keep one foot on the ground, barefoot if possible, and stand on the paper plate with the other foot, flat part down.

For a hard surface - like tile, laminate, or wood - keep one foot on the ground, barefoot if possible, and put the other foot on a washcloth or just wear a sock.

Put about 90% of your body weight on the foot that is on the ground, and with your other foot slide the washcloth, paper plate, or furniture mover as far forward as you can while keeping most if not all of your weight on your foot that is staying still. Complete this again to the side and back as far as you can control. Then do the other side.

I hope that these exercises help, if you have any questions or other tips that you'd like to share please message me, I’d love to hear from you.

#physicaltherapy #injuryprevention #snowinjuries

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