Winter is a season that is going to come, it is unavoidable and it can be tricky to navigate through the cold and snowy months. It is important to stay safe and think ahead as the snow settles in. If you are an amputee, especially a lower limb amputee, there are some dangers you will have to watch out for.
Falling or tripping is always a hazard for an amputee, in the winter months the dangers of falling or tripping increase dramatically.
Here are some tips and ideas to help keep yourself or loved one safe and happy as winter blows in.
Plan ahead – know the route you are taking to be sure the accumulated snow is cleared. Have a plan to keep your property clear of snow during the winter months. If you are going out, if possible, let a loved one know where you are going.
Talk to your physiotherapist – As winter approaches talk to your physiotherapist about steps you can take to decrease your risk of falling as well as strategies to use if you do fall to decrease your chance of injuring yourself.
Wear appropriate footwear - make sure that your footwear fits properly and is equipped with cleats or grips. There are many different types of slip-on products that can fit all different types of winter footwear. Sometimes a prosthesis needs to be aligned to your winter boot if the heels are different. If you do not feel stable in your winter boots, talk to your Prosthetist.
Take extra caution – take extra caution as you are entering or exiting buildings and getting in and out of your car. Consider using a cane for the winter to assist in balance and uneven terrain.
Although there are many hazards in the winter, this should not stop you from getting out and enjoying the winter months if that is something you are interested in. Many sports such as skiing, curling (adaptive or not) and sledge hockey can be great options for amputees. Getting out for a walk with the help of trek poles and the right attitude will help you stay active even in the winter months.
If you are properly prepared, winter can be a season to enjoy!