Stride, Don't Shuffle


With winter in full swing, slip and fall accidents increase exponentially. Recent research can provide valuable advice on avoiding these accidents. Studies suggest shuffling instead of sliding across slippery surfaces. No one needs to fall onto an ice covered path, so it’s always important to take precautions. The best way to travel across a slippery surface is to carefully shuffle your feet while keeping the center of gravity behind rather than in front. This method of traveling can help the bottom of your shoes maintain their grip on the ice which in turn leads to safer walking.

Timothy Higham, a researcher of Clemson University, stated that, “approaching a slippery surface slowly makes it harder to shift the center of weight forward once foot contact has been made.” He found that once the knee passes the ankle the slipping stops due to the more momentum you have.

Higham recorded, “The findings can be useful in helping humans, especially older ones, make their way across surfaces that are wet, icy, or oily.” “The key to avoiding slips seems to be speed and keeping the body mass forward, slightly ahead of the ankles after the food contacts the ground.” Since slips are one of the most common reasons for injuries and death when traveling by foot, it is important to remain aware of your surroundings.

The scientists performing this study discovered a connection between slip and fall accidents and foot position, body alignment, and speed. The distance of the slip also plays a factor. When they fell, the guinea fowl used for Higham’s study needed to slip a distance of at least 10 cm. The length of the slip distance is the same for humans.

The knee and ankle joints of human and guinea fowl operate in very similar manners. Joint angles are created by the relative position of the knee to the foot. On slippery surfaces, these angles, whether they are wide or narrow, either cause or prevent loss of balance. It turns out that the strategies used to control limbs on icy surfaces are incredibly comparable.

Many property owners are responsible for making sure their surfaces are safe to walk through. When not properly maintained, the risk for injuries from a slip-and-fall increased exponentially. If you feel as if your slip-and-fall injury came from a property owner’s negligence, contact Clifton personal injury attorney James Vasquez today (862) 247-8711.