Common Winter Injuries and How to Prevent Them
As the winter season closes in, we all become excited to see the beautiful aspects of it. But as winter comes, so do the dangers that follow. There are some very common injuries that occur during the snowy and icy winter months; however, we’ve got some tips below on what you can do to help prevent them. Get ready to enjoy the season by being prepared!
Preventing Winter Injuries Caused by Slips and Falls on Ice
Ice is very common and very dangerous in the winter time. Sometimes it’s hard to even tell it’s there until it’s too late. Emergency room visits due to slips and falls increase dramatically during winter – falls can cause sprains, strains, broken bones, back injuries, and concussions.
Function over fashion is key here, which means that when you’re out and about wear shoes that have traction – like snow boots. Also, walk slowly and be on the lookout for slippery areas and, if you can, put salt or sand down on walkways, driveways, and porches to build traction and make slipping less common.
Preventing Injuries from Shoveling
Each winter we know that we can pretty much count on having piles and piles of snow. In 2014 it was recorded that there were around 14,500 emergency room visits related to shoveling injuries. While snow can be great to play in, it’s not as much fun when it comes to shoveling. Snow shoveling is a long and labor intensive job that requires a lot of energy – and, if the snow is especially wet, it will be even heavier and harder to lift.
A big component in snow shoveling is the shovel itself. Pick one that is good for your height so you don’t have to bend down as much, and make sure your shovel of choice has easy to grip handles. Make sure to always stretch before beginning to loosen up your muscles and prevent soreness, too.
Above all, don’t rush through your shoveling chores and make sure to take breaks as needed. Stay hydrated as your body uses up LOTS of energy and water when you’re working that hard, even out in the cold. And remember – if it’s still too much for you, you can always hire someone to do it for you.
Preventing Winter Sports Injuries
Did you know that in 2018 almost 200,000 people were treated in the US for sports related injuries?
- 76,000 from skiing
- 53,000 from snowboarding
- 48,000 from ice skating
- 22,000 from sledding and tobogganing
Common winter sports injuries include fractures, breaks, sprains, strains, concussions, and dislocations. These injuries most often result from improper form and technique, as well as ill-fitting equipment. Some things you can do to mitigate your risk of injury include: regular exercise to keep your body in peak condition, wear all recommended safety and protective equipment, check your equipment prior to each use, and remember to warm up before activities. And, when practicing or participating in a winter sport (like skiing or snowboarding) always have someone accompany you in case of an emergency.
If you suffer a winter injury, it’s important to have it examined and treated by a medical professional as soon as possible (if you suspect a broken bone, fracture, or a head injury, a visit to the emergency department is probably in order). By educating yourself about common winter injuries, you can protect your family and yourself from potential risks this coming holiday season. If an injury arises, call Nebraska Orthopaedic Center to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopaedic surgeons.