Want to avoid falling this winter – Choose your boots as carefully as you choose your snow tires

Boots are like snow tires – choose wisely

Slipping on an icy surface sent over 21,000 people to hospital in Canada last year. If you want to reduce your risk for falling, in addition to considering the fit, the warmth and the aesthetic, take a close look at the tread when purchasing a new boot.

Determining what to buy recently became a lot easier thanks to a study published by Toronto Rehab Institute (TRI).  They  looked at 98 winter boots and watched people walk on progressively more risky surfaces.  In a safe environment they increased angles to simulate a ramp and put water over the ice to reduce the grip.  In the end only 9 winter boots received a passing grade.  If you would like to see the 9 boots that can significantly decrease your risk for falling on ice. they are listed at http://www.ratemytreads.com/.

Although many of us may try to not go out on icy days there are some things that just can’t be avoided. I took this list with me last weekend when we were looking for new boots to walk the dog.   Congratulations to the buyers at Mark’s Work Warehouse for having several of these better choices at their stores! The Tarantula treads look amazing as do several of the other advanced grip technology.  

Looking for other tips for staying safe this winter? This website has a list of items that can make a difference. http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=6463214f65a32410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

At the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic our goal is to help our clients prevent injuries as well as recover from them.  We know that improving balance and strength are some of the factors that can make a difference.   

It’s not enough to focus just on preventing falls, it’s also important to make sure that if you do fall, that you fall “better”.  New research is looking into the role of upper body strength in absorbing the impact of the fall so that your bones don’t take the full force. The research on falls prevention and falling better are two of the catalysts driving Gareth Sneath’s osteoporosis program.  A certified physiotherapist with Bonefit he completes an individualized assessment to focus your program to help reduce your risk for falling. 

If you would like further information on our Osteoporosis and falls prevention program please contact Gareth Sneath at 416-925-4687 or gsneath@orthophysio.com.

Maureen Dwight is a registered physiotherapist and the Clinic Director at the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic.  She has received no financial benefit from the recommendations in this article and would like to hear from you if you wish to recommend other stores which carry these low-slip boots, email: mdwight@orthophysio.com