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Why senior citizens are at a higher risk of injury during winter

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Doctors are warning seniors and the elderly about their increased risk of injuries during the cold, winter months.

Indianapolis resident Lee Clark didn’t even have to fall to suffer from what doctors say is a pretty serious knee injury; and that his age and the weather could have played a role in him ultimately needing surgery two weeks ago.

Back in November, Clark and his wife were helping their daughter walk her puppy. An 80-pound Bernese Mountain Dog who playfully ran into Lee right at knee level.

“After a few days of pain, I could really hardly move or walk and that’s when I went in,” said Clark. who ended up at Northwest Radiology for an MRI, which confirmed a torn meniscus.

“It’s a common injury, but given it was a minor trauma, his age likely played a factor,” said Dr. Catherine King, a radiologist at Northwest Radiology.

The doctor adds that when it comes to seniors, there are a few things to consider. First, the feeling in their feet may decline which can affect proper balance and their bones are weaker, even more so in the winter. Seniors often take multiple medications which can cause dizziness and weakness.

“The risk of winter injuries increases after the age of 65 and even more so after 75,” said Dr. King.

Clark is 69-years-old and says his injury is a reminder he doesn’t need to stop his activity, but he does need to slow down.

“If the driveway is slick and I need to get the paper or mail I’ll go through the yard rather than walk on the driveway. I mean you’re more conscious of where you’re putting your feet now you know, as we get older,” said Clark.

To reduce the risk, Dr. King advises seniors to wear shoes with deep treads to help balance and avoid doing winter activities alone. She also suggests monitoring any new medications for at leaat 24 hours to see how you react before venturing out into the cold and ice.