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Winter Wellness: Fall Prevention and Treatment

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The cold, winter months are upon us and with snow and ice outside, falling can be a big concern. The cold weather conditions and winter storms can be hazardous; but if we plan ahead, we can stay safe and healthy during the season. When participating in outdoor activities during the winter season, always wear appropriate clothing, sprinkle sand or salt on icy patches, be careful where you step and bring a buddy and/or a cell phone when participating in outdoor activities or traveling in winter weather conditions.

Hip fractures are the most common injury sustained from falling in winter conditions, and orthopedists see between three to four hip fracture patients per month during this time of year. If you or someone around you does fall, and you experience a lot of pain or there is an obvious broken bone, it is important to dial 911 immediately. Don’t try to get up and don’t let anyone other than the paramedics or a trained professional help you up.

If you do experience a hip fracture, the paramedics will take you to the hospital where you will consult with an orthopedic surgeon. After surgery, you’ll typically spend three to four days in the hospital while you recover and work with a physical therapist to restore mobility. You will most likely spend a few weeks in a skilled nursing facility as you continue to recuperate. Hip fractures are serious injuries that can take a year or more to fully recover, while some never get back to normal, which is why preventing falls is so important.

Cone Health Orthopedic Center of Excellence has an exceptional network of highly-trained orthopedic specialists and related healthcare professionals who are dedicated to treating patients with hip injuries throughout the community.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. N. Michael Xu is an orthopedic surgeon at Piedmont Orthopedics and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Xu received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry and exercise sports science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004. He earned his medical degree from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Wake Forest Baptist Health in 2009 and 2014, respectively.