January , 2018 – Bronx, NY – Winter is here – some of us dread it and hibernate or fly away, some embrace it, and most of us just deal with it. Most common winter injuries can be broadly classified into these three categories:

  1. Repetitive task injuries: while engaged in shoveling snow, clearing cars, etc
  2. Winter sports injuries: ice-skating, snow boarding, skiing
  3. Accidental slips and falls

While optimal general health is a pre-requisite for undertaking any physical task, here are few tips to prevent injuries while dealing with snow and ice:

  • Dress appropriately with special care to wear proper footwear. We often have to tread of icy slick surfaces that can be treacherous – think slip and fall. Winter shoes with adequate gripping are key while walking over unpredictable terrain
  • Deal with physically strenuous tasks like cleaning driveways or clearing cars like a workout. Do a quick warm-up that includes stretching and light cardio to get your body ready
  • Like a workout, form is key while using a shovel or snow blower. Injuries often happen due to poor technique
  • Again considering the task like a exercise routine, stop when exhausted to continue or when you feel pain – listen to your body
  • Consider having a spotter who can keep an eye on you while you are busy dealing with the winter mess
  • Strategize your task – plan ahead, take breaks. Don’t just work hard, work smart J

At NYSSRM, your physical therapist can help you better prepare yourself to deal with the winter:

  • Teach you how to stretch: Stretching is key especially some key muscles such as hamstrings, piriformis, latissimus dorsi, gastrosoloeus
  • Improve your postural awareness: Engaging hips and knees along with proper posture while shoveling
  • Screen for strength and flexibility: Do you have what it takes to be able to skate/ski or surf? Your therapist can evaluate and determine if you are prone for injuries
  • Improve balance: This is vital to fall prevention while treading over slick surfaces

Winter does not have to be as bad as it is made out to be. With the proper preparation and planning, winter can be fun, active and snug. Stay warm, stay safe and stay active J