Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather for Lower-limb Amputees

Winter weather is especially dangerous for lower-limb amputees who may already have balance problems. Snow and ice can lead to poor traction and slippery surfaces that can ruin your day—or much worse. If you decide that you must go out, try to foresee any potential problems and plan ways to prevent them or deal with them if they occur. Don’t be caught off-guard.


Ask a relative or friend to drop you off where you’re going to minimize the distance you have to walk outside. If no one is available, consider using Uber, Lyft, or public transportation to get you to your destination.


Monitor the weather conditions so you know what to expect. Giving yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going will help keep you from having to rush, which can make you less careful.


Always make sure your cell phone is charged and that you know who to call for help if you have problems.


Don’t wear clothing that can easily get caught on something or cause you to trip.


Keep your hands free. Use securely fastened backpacks or fanny packs for carrying items so that if you do slip, your hands are free to break your fall.


Use weather-appropriate footwear and cane or crutch tips to help prevent slipping. Specific types will vary depending on the particular conditions. Know whether you need rubber bottoms/tips or spiked bottoms/tips. Some cane and crutch tips are changeable for various conditions. Use slip-on traction outsoles for shoes and boots.


Keep the areas around your house clear of snow and ice. You can’t control your environment away from home, but you can control it at home.


Inspect steps, hills, and ramps before using them. If they look dangerous, seek another route.


Stay alert. Simply paying careful attention can go a long way toward preventing falls. We all sometimes lose focus on what we’re doing. When walking in dangerous conditions on a prosthesis or assistive devices, you can’t afford such a lapse—even for a moment.

IMAGE: bildlove/

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