Whether you are using crutches or a cane temporarily or permanently, venturing outdoors in the early spring can expose you to hazardous conditions. While snow and ice on the ground is expected in the winter, by spring, you are likely to be dealing with mud and black ice. If you use mobility aids at home and while out and about, there are some steps you can take to stay safe from slips and falls this spring.
Consider Traction Devices
You can purchase traction attachments that attach to your crutches or cane. These are in addition to the rubber traction aids that are already located at the bottom of your walking aid, and can help a lot when you are dealing with remnants of snow and ice.Look for them at any medical supply store or online retailers at sites like http://www.twincitystairlifts.com.
In addition to these types of devices, you should also wear shoes with good tread on them to provide the traction you need to keep yourself steady and upright if you were to step in a patch of black ice or mud.
Carry a Bag of Sand
While it might sound counterproductive to increase the number of things you are carrying, attaching a small bag of sand (or kitty litter) to your crutches or putting it in your purse can help you out of a slippery patch. If you are out and you find that you need to cross a muddy sidewalk or an icy parking lot, tossing down some sand or its equivalent can help add traction. This can allow you to avoid a fall.
Watch for Hidden Hazards
You are probably accustomed to keeping an eye on the ground in front of you to help prevent falls caused by a stone or a crack in the sidewalk. Something else to be on the lookout for this time of year is wet leaves. If leaves and other foliage were not raked up in the fall, they may have been covered up by snow. Now that the snow is melting, slippery, muddy leaves can become quite the hazard.
If the ground is wet, you'll need to watch your walkway for patches of black ice. If the pavement looks shiny, especially if it's in an area shaded from the sun, assume it might be ice and proceed with much caution.
Consider a Set of Wheels
If conditions seem quite hazardous, there is no shame in switching to a scooter or a wheelchair when venturing outdoors. Particularly if you feel unsteady on your feet, adding more points of contact with the ground can help you feel more secure. More importantly, it can help you avoid dangerous falls that could make your condition even worse.
Be sure to use your cane or crutches when you can to help you keep your strength up, but if you are attending a spring festival or other outdoor event, switching to a scooter or wheelchair can help you enjoy the day without worrying about slipping and falling.
While your family and friends were probably careful to lend a hand when the ground was icy or snowy, they might not realize that springtime hazards can be dangerous for you to deal with. If you need them to slow down or help you physically, don't be shy about asking or angry that they didn't realize you needed assistance. Simply let them know what your needs are, and they will surely step up.
Spring has its own set of potential hazards if you use crutches or a cane to get around. Remember that summer will be right around the corner, however, and that the springtime mud and periodic black ice will go away for the time being. The important thing is to remember to take the steps necessary to stay safe this spring.