Slips and Falls—Avoiding a Broken Bone or Sprain During the Holidays

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With cold temperatures and an icy ground, the risk of a serious injury from falling on ice increases. A sprain is an injury to a joint and has three different degrees of severity—first-degree sprains can usually be cared for at home. A fracture in a bone generally takes a bit more force than a sprain, but the two can be difficult to differentiate. But, how can you avoid these injuries this season?

Tips for avoiding slips and falls

  • Improve balance through strength training exercises
  • Pay attention to your surroundings
  • Walk slowly and deliberately
  • Wear winter-appropriate footwear

Sprains
A sprain occurs when a ligament is overstretched or torn from direct or indirect trauma and overstretches the supporting ligaments. Symptoms of a sprain include pain, bruising, inflammation, and joint instability.

Treatment for sprains is similar to muscle and tendon strains; however, if you’re unable to move or place weight on the injured area, it may be necessary to see a doctor.

Fractures 
There are several types of bone fractures, but the main categories are displaced, non-displaced, open, and closed. Fractures can be very serious and some may require emergency medial treatment.

If the fracture happens to be open, the bone breaks through the skin. This increases the risk for bone infection, so immediate medical treatment is necessary. The severity of the fracture also depends on the location within the body. Some fractures can result in long-term damage or life-threatening situations if not treated immediately. If you suspect you have a bone fracture, go to the ER.

Treatment for fractures depends on the type and severity of the fracture. It may include setting the bone, immobilizing the area with a cast or splint, rest, and possible rehabilitation.

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