Chicago Doctors Report Spike in Number of Falls as Icy Weather Continues

With wintry weather wreaking havoc on the Chicago-area this week, local doctors are warning residents that they not only need to be cautious on the roads, but also on the sidewalks of the area.

For one area physician, Dr. Cynthia Mendoza, that lesson was hammered home after she was the victim of a slip-and-fall this week.

“I just stepped on (ice) and it happened so fast,” she said. “I fell all the way down, feet up in the air, everything.”

Dr. Mendoza ended up with a sprained ankle, and she’s not alone, as RUSH University Medical Center has reported a spike in slip-and-fall incidents this winter.

Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Mark Cohen says whether fallers get hurt or not is dependent on how they fall.

The doctor says that while most people have the instinct to put out their arms to try to catch themselves when they fall, you’re actually better off to land on your backside if you’re falling backwards, and to try to land on your forearms if you’re falling forward.

“The forearm bones are much stronger and much less susceptible to fracture and to injury,” he said.

Equally as important as how you fall is what you can do to prevent slips from taking place. Dr. Cohen suggests that residents would be better off paying close attention to their surroundings, and to make sure that they are wearing the correct shoes.

“You have to take your time, and you have to watch where you’re going,” he said.

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