Don't Walk This Way: Distracted Walking Takes a Toll on New Yorkers as Smartphones Sending Users to the ER

Put away your smartphone!

New York Daily News—August 6, 2014

Not paying attention is leading to an uptick in pedestrian injuries, according to research. This problem is a sign of the times, says one psychologist, but there are things you can do to safeguard yourself.

New Yorkers are sending themselves to the emergency room with sprained ankles and bumped heads — all thanks to their iPhones.

Distracted walking, like texting, emailing, Facebooking, tweeting, and Instagraming while stepping through the city streets, has accounted for 78% of pedestrian injuries across the country, a recent review of hospital records found.

And a March study in the journal Injury Prevention found that more than 1 in 4 of approximately 3,500 Manhattan pedestrians were distracted by a mobile device or headphones while crossing the street.

Dr. Joshua Dines, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, said he sees a lot of sprained ankles and foot injuries as a result of distracted walking, with people flying off a curb without realizing it or missing a step going down stairs.

"Your body's bracing itself for the impact," he said. When it's not there, he said, you overload your body and stumble.

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