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Icy Walkways Increase Falls, Emergency Room Visits

You can never be too careful walking on snow and ice, especially when you don't have good, ground-gripping shoes. Area doctors say last week's storms created hazardous conditions, even for folks walking in their own driveways.
Injuries from falls on the snow and ice in the last week are keeping area hospitals and doctors offices very busy.

Dr. Josh Schacter, an orthopedic surgeon at United Regional, says, "I would say our fracture volume going through the emergency room, people injured, broken bones, increases by 400 to 500 percent. We literally saw on Saturday and Sunday probably 40 or 50 patients with fractures."

Many of those require surgery.

"We see broken long bones, such as leg bones, thigh bones; upper extremity shoulder fractures; ankle injuries are very, very common," Dr. Schacter says.

But the injuries doctors say they've seen the most of lately are hip fractures in their older patients.

"Elderly people already have difficulty with balance, so you add a slippery, icy surface and it's a recipe for a severe injury," he says.

But while injuries from slips and falls kept emergency rooms full, Dr. Schacter says luckily most people followed advice to stay off the roads.

He says doctors saw a decrease in the number of patients admitted due to vehicle accidents.

Dr. Schacter says if you do have to get out and walk on the ice, you can combat injuries by wearing a bulky coat.

He says that will cushion you if you fall.

He also recommends using a walking aid like a cane, or better yet, staying at home and asking a friend or a family member to run your errands for you.
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