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By Carole Bell
Observer Columnist 

Smart And Spicy

Walk, Carefully, Into The New Year


January 4, 2018

Walk, Carefully, Into The New Year

I hope 2018 will be a year when you'll stay intact.

Is the reason so many people are falling the time of year, or the time of life?

"There are 27,000 ankle sprains every day in the U.S.," says Glenn Pfeffer, orthopaedic surgeon and Director of the Foot and Ankle Surgery Program at Cedars-Sinai.

Half of all ankle sprains happen when you're not even doing anything athletic. It could be something as innocent as stepping on an uneven surface. One story I heard involved a friend who was walking on gravel one minute, fell, and couldn't get up. Multiple surgeries followed.

A British friend was helping his village with Christmas decorations. He had just gotten up on a ladder when a well-meaning volunteer grabbed his leg, hoping to give support. The person on the ladder had not yet found his footing, and fell, resulting in broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Imagine how the person who caused that fall must have felt.

75% of us will experience foot problems in our lives.

Did you know you're likely to walk over 100,000 miles in your lifetime? The forces wearing on your feet can total hundreds of tons.

Last month, a friend told me she had four friends who were all walking around in a big black boot because they had fallen.

Country star Carrie Underwood called her fall a month ago "gruesome." She broke her wrist, had to cancel a concert and get therapy, but only just revealed that she injured her face, too. She's worried that she will wind up looking different after getting 40 to 50 stitches in her face.

"It's crazy how a freak random accident can change your life," she says.

Every time you lift your heel in walking, your toes are forced to carry half your weight.

No wonder why in sports, ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries.

Since three out of four Americans experience serious foot problems in their lifetime, what can you do?

"What's your top tip to avoid injuring your foot?" I asked Glenn Pfeffer.

He had one word of advice.


* * *

"Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far."

Thomas Jefferson

* * *

Ankle injuries cause over a million people a year to go to the emergency room.

* * *

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.

Roger Miller

* * *

"After having been in prison, it's the small things that one appreciates: being able to take a walk whatever one wants, going into a shop and buying a newspaper, speaking or choosing to remain silent. The simple act of being able to control one's person."

Nelson Mandela

* * *

This past year already seems long ago. Things that were fresh recently already seem so 2017.

* * *

I suggest you walk straight to these superb events:

Saturday, January 6

The American Cinematheque and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Symposium, with all the foreign language nominees for the 2018 Golden Globes. All the directors will be present, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Saturday, January 13

The Annual Martin Luther King Holiday Weekend Concert

Santa Monica Symphony

SGI Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica (free).

Sunday, February 25

Culver City Symphony, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, with winners from the 2018 Parness Concerto Competition.

* * *

"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.'"

Alfred Lord Tennyson


Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything.

You can write to her at:


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