University of Michigan doctors create 'Slipperiness Score'

Score identifies riskiest days for slip-and-fall injuries

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Slipping and sliding have become a way of life this winter, with falls on the ice sending many people to the emergency room.

Now doctors at the University of Michigan Health System have created a "Slipperiness Score" to help identify which days are the most risky for slip and fall injuries.

The score is based on factors like snowfall, wind speed and temperature. Scores range from zero to seven, with seven being the most slippery.

The study is published in February's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal. It focused on Medicare patients, all over age 65, but researchers say everyone is at risk for falling in winter weather.

"Although the concept that slippery footing increases your risk of falling isn't new, what we've been able to show is that these dangerous conditions result in more fractures in this already vulnerable population of adults," said lead study author Dr. Aviram Giladi, a resident in the U-M Department of Surgery's Division of Plastic Surgery.

According to the study, on days with a "Slipperiness Score" above 4, the risk of sustaining a wrist fracture increased by 21 percent. On the most slippery days, the additional risk went up to nearly 40 percent.

To learn how to reduce your risk of suffering a slip and fall injury on the ice, click here.

To see the "Slipperiness Score" formula, click here.

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