By: Value News | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: January 2008
Dr. Ronald S. LaButti
As we reach the peak of winter, our cheeks are feeling the stings of cold, icy winds. And, common in Oklahoma, snow and ice storms can arise without much notice. Accompanying this winter weather are the familiar sore muscles and aches and pains associated with slips and falls. Dr. Ronald S. LaButti, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement, offers some helpful advice for staying injury-free this winter season.
“When walking outside in icy conditions, it is important to be aware of your surroundings,” Dr. LaButti says. “Approach all areas with caution and watch for snow and water puddles. Ice on steps, sidewalks and pathways is not always visible.” He advises to take precaution and assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy.
Also important in preventing weather-related injuries is a person’s choice in footwear. Shoes or boots with smooth soles, as well as high-heeled shoes, should be avoided. Instead, wear those with low, wide heels that provide traction on snow and ice. According to the Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund, boots made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles are best.
In our typical day-to-day routines, most of us rush around from one activity to another. However, when the weather turns icy, it is important to slow down and allow for plenty of time to get where you are going. Dr. LaButti advises using special care when entering and exiting vehicles. Use the vehicle for support and look before stepping down. When walking, move at a slower pace, shorten your stride and shuffle for stability.
Outdoor exercisers should particularly take proper precaution during the cold, winter months. Frostbite is a common injury among outdoor enthusiasts. According to the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, frostbite is caused by prolonged exposure to harsh winter conditions and causes damage to the skin and underlying tissues. At the first sign of numbness, Dr. LaButti recommends using warm towels and water to warm the skin. However, frostbite can be prevented by dressing properly for the cold weather. When heading outside for your afternoon jog or walk, Dr. LaButti encourages wearing well-insulated, dry, warm shoes with proper support. When trying to prevent injuries, footwear can be just as important as wearing a warm coat, hat and gloves.
Dr. LaButti graduated from the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1994. Following his residency in orthopedic surgery at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, he completed a fellowship in lower extremity and joint reconstruction at the State University of New York. Dr. LaButti currently practices with Central States Orthopedic Specialists, Inc., one of the largest private group of orthopedic surgeons in Tulsa.
With the proper education and preventative measures, the winter months can be happy and healthy for you and your family. Avoid becoming part of the influx of patients seen by hospitals during the winter months. Heed Dr. LaButti’s advice and stay injury-free.