American Family Care (AFC) offers prevention tips and treatment
Icy roadways, slippery sidewalks and slushy snow create dangerous conditions for driving and walking. When the snow falls, the number of slips and fall accidents rises. American Family Care (AFC) physicians have seen an early spike in sprains, strains and other injuries due to Connecticut’s early record levels of snow.
“People are on high alert when behind the wheel in bad weather, but often forget to be more cautious when on foot,” said Dr. Iftikhar Ali, Medical Director of AFC urgent care. We have treated a lot of ankle, wrist and foot problems due to falls on steps and driveways.”
To help prevent injury, Dr. Ali recommends being aware when ice is likely to form. If it is raining and the air temp is below 32° F, conditions will likely cause the ground to freeze and precipitation will freeze on impact.
Broken and fractured ankles are the most common injury sustained from falls during winter months. The distal fibula and medial malleolus are damaged by twisting injuries. Surgery is often necessary for ankle fractures to achieve proper alignment during the healing process.
Some tips for avoiding falls and slips include:
- Treat walking areas with sand or de-icer
- Wear boots with grip soles such as those made of rubber
- Use handrails when possible
- When walking, curl your toes to grip the sole of the shoe and walk as flat-footed as possible
- When getting out of your vehicle, look down and analyze the surface
- Step, don’t jump down from vehicles and outdoor equipment
- Don’t walk with your hands tucked into your pockets or your hands full, as this reduces your ability to use your arms for balance should you fall
- Take short shuffling steps in icy and slick areas
- Take caution when shoveling or using a snow blower
Other common injuries from falls that require medical assessment are muscle sprains, ligament strains, concussions and head trauma, back injuries and spinal compression fractures. AFC is open extended hours and can immediately assess an injury to determine the proper course of care.
A physician at AFC will start with a physical exam, then may utilize an onsite x-ray for further diagnosis. Sometimes a splint or other orthotic is needed. More serious strains or sprains may require physical therapy or further evaluation by a referral to an orthopedic specialist.
Dr. Ali warns a person may not feel the effects of an injury immediately. “Symptoms of swelling and pain may not appear right away, or a person may believe the pain will pass with time. Any symptoms of pain should not be ignored, they should be properly assessed.”
For a head injury, Dr. Ali notes if a person did not lose consciousness, they are probably okay. The exception is for people older than 65. They need to seek treatment regardless because they are at higher risk for bleeding in the brain. If a person is on blood thinners such as Warfarin, Clopidogrel, of aspirin, they are also at higher risk for bleeding and should potentially get a scan of their head.
AFC locations are open Monday through Friday from 8 am-8 pm and weekends from 8 am-5 pm. No appointment is required and care is dispensed with the utmost quality and efficiency. The centers are located at 1171 East Main St. Torrington CT; 135 East Main St., New Britain CT; 1030 Boulevard West Hartford, CT; 179 Talcottville Rd., Vernon, CT; Danbury locations- 2 Main St., 100 Mill Plain Rd & 76C Newtown Rd. All locations offer convenient, private parking.