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“Walk Like a Penguin” and Other Tips to Avoid Falling on Icy Sidewalks


Are icy sidewalks, parking lots and streets making you nervous about falling and ending up in a cast?

NorthShore’s Orthopaedic Immediate Care physicians are seeing a significant uptick in patients coming in with muscle strains and fractured bones from falls on the ice and snow.

“No matter how accustomed you are to freezing weather, sometimes the ice takes you by surprise,” said Kirsten Geary, MD, NorthShore Sports Medicine physician. “If you do fall and you’re not sure if the pain is normal or not, come see us before it gets worse.”

Here are some tips to keep you upright and stable:

Walk Like a Penguin: Have you seen a penguin waddle? Take slow, short and flat-footed steps. Waddling is optional.

Give Your Cell Phone a Break: Put your cell phone away and don’t use it while walking. You should focus on your footing, not a conversation with your boss.

Step Down When Exiting Your Car: Swing your legs out, plant your feet on the ground and hold on to the door frame when getting out of your car.

Step Down Off Curbs, Not Out: Don’t land heel first and step flat footed off the curb with short steps.

Wear the Right Footwear: Those heels are cute but save them for the office. Wear shoes or boots with a wide, low heel, deep tread and a non-slip sole.

Where should I go if I get injured?

That’s the easy part! Head to one of seven NorthShore Orthopaedic Immediate Care Locations. COVID-19 testing is not done at these centers, and walk-ins are welcome! Note: The Chicago Orthopaedic Immediate Care location does not schedule appointments, but you can let the office know when you anticipate arriving to help expedite your experience.