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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Heitzmann, MSPT,

Tips to Avoid Injuries in the Snow

The snow is finally here! It is both beautiful and daunting depending on our circumstances. Either way, before you head outdoors to play or shovel, take a few minutes to ensure some safety measures to avoid a fall or injury. Falls, fractures, frostbite, and back injuries are all too common with the onset of snowy winters!

Pay attention to your Surroundings

Always pay attention to the outdoor surfaces as you venture out. Icy surfaces can be lurking silently on driveways, walkways, and porches. Snow covered ice and black ice are often missed, resulting in countless falls and injuries each year. Tread carefully and assume there are icy patches as you navigate outdoor walking surfaces!

Wear Proper Footwear

Proper footwear is key to managing the outdoors during winter weather! Appropriate winter footwear will reduce slipping, sliding and falling. Choose shoes that offer the following:

  • Good traction to avoid slipping on icy/uneven walkways

  • · Insulation to keep your feet warm.

  • Waterproof materials to keep your feet dry.

  • A comfortable fit with room for warm socks

Dress Dry and Warm

Wearing proper outer gear is paramount when spending time outdoors. Conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia can take place if you leave yourself exposed to the cold. Layered clothing with a waterproof outer layer is the best defense against excessive cold. Your head and hands are the first place your body loses heat. Be sure to have insulated hat and gloves to maintain a warm internal body temperature!

Shoveling Tips

Shoveling is a necessary part of keeping our outdoors safe for walking and driving. It is also a source for low back and shoulder injury due to the sheer mechanics of the activity. When done properly, it can be a great outdoor workout. But be sure to follow a few tips to avoid a nagging injury:

  • Warm-up beforehand with a few stretches and exercises.

  • When shoveling, bend your legs, not your back.

  • Never put too much snow on your shovel at once.

  • Minimize twisting and throwing the snow, this is the biggest culprit for injury.

  • Lift the snow with knees bent, and toss it gently in front of you.

  • Stay hydrated.

Whenever possible, stay in and enjoy the fire:)

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