Snow and ice create fall dangers. (RI photo)

With a few inches of snow forecast for roughly two-thirds of the state today, many Iowans are likely to encounter slippery sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots for the first time since last winter.

Kevin Bultena, a doctor of physical therapy and director of the 21st Century Rehab Clinic in Webster City, says take precautions to protect yourself in case of a fall. “Keeping your hands out of your pocket to try and stabilize yourself, but we also don’t want you to necessarily try and reach out and brace your fall on an extended arm,” Bultena says. “We would rather have a fall where you tuck and roll and hit on a broad base, the leg, the side, the shoulder, kind of diffuse the contact points.”

Bultena says to choose your footwear wisely when the wintery weather arrives to help prevent falls. “It’s the first, obviously, point of contact between your body and the ice,” he says, “and if your footwear is slipping and sliding, the likelihood that you’re going to follow suit and end up on the ground is pretty high.”

Iowans who are headed to work will want to wear professional-looking shoes, but they also need to use common sense when selecting the day’s pair of shoes so they don’t end up cracking a tailbone. “We want shoes that are flat, no heels because that sets you up for falls, but even the type of shoe in terms of the sole matters,” he says, “a rubberized sole or a composite sole is going to hold the ice much better than plastic sole or a leather sole.”

More than 800,000 people a year nationwide are treated for falls.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)