Chicagoans struggle to navigate icy sidewalks

December 15, 2010 2:21:41 PM PST
Taking a brisk walk in the cold weather is challenging with sidewalks covered in layers of snow and ice, but Steve Manta hasn't lost his stride.

"We live in Chicago. We're kind of used to it. We expect it. So, I just take real short steps and try not to fall," said Manta.

Residents are salting sidewalks to melt the ice, but the frigid temperatures quickly turn the water to ice again.

With the snow and freeze pattern Chicago has seen in recent weeks, Antonio Gutierrez was shopping for extra ammunition at a West Town Ace Hardware Tuesday afternoon. When shovels and regular rock salt won't do, he needs an ice chipper and subzero temperature ice melt.

"I got everything I need. I got to be ready," said Gutierrez.

"The temperature dips and now all of a sudden he can't shovel the snow, so now it's the ice choppers and this is a good time for rock salt, which we are still selling but they're going to the ones that melts lower temperatures," said Fran Hradnansky, manager, Ace Hardware.

Icy sidewalks can be a health hazard with people at a greater risk of slipping, falling and injuring themselves. Dr. Mark Cohen, a professor of orthopedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center has seen an uptick in fractured wrists this winter, which is the most common injury. He treated three patients before noon Wednesday.

"It's the most common fracture in the body. It's the most common mechanism is just to fall. And uou brace yourself by falling on your outstretched hand, and the force is taken up in the wrist and the wrist typically breaks," said Dr. Cohen.

Older people with more brittle bones are advised to take extra care when walking on the ice.


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