Winter weather can lead to more than just itchy, dry skin and flu season. Winter injuries are a real possibility for many people. A combination of poor traction and certain activities caused by snow and ice are a cause for concern for many people in snowy regions.
However, once you learn about some common winter injuries, you can also prepare for them. Here are some common winter injuries and what you can do to help prevent them.
Preventing Slip and Fall Injuries
Slips and falls can occur just about anywhere there’s snow or ice. Typical dangerous spots can include icy sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots. Even places that are wet from melted ice and snow, like entrance hallways, can be more slick than usual. Slips and falls can result in a wide range of injuries depending on how you land and your age. These can include:
- Head injuries
- Ankle sprains and breaks
- Wrist fractures
- Elbow dislocation
- Hip fractures
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to limit your chance of a slip or fall. Shoveling excess snow and salting driveways, sidewalks, stairs, and other walkable surfaces will increase traction. It’s also good to walk carefully and pay more attention to your footing. Hurrying down a sidewalk or parking lot to get to work or go shopping can lead to a slip and a trip to the hospital.
Stopping Muscle Strain
Before you run off to shovel any snow, you should think about the effect it can have on your body. Shoveling snow can be a pain, both figuratively and literally. Shoveling requires a lot of physical exertion over a prolonged period of time. Regular twisting and lifting puts strain on your body, potentially resulting in muscle pulls and back, neck, and shoulder injuries. In fact, there are upwards of 11,000 emergency room visits each year in the U.S. because of this one wintertime chore.
Even with all of that information, someone still has to shovel the driveway. Fortunately, there are ways to help limit your chances of injury and reduce the strain on your body:
- Do light exercises and stretches to prepare your body
- Push the snow instead of always lifting it
- Take breaks when needed
- Don’t lift too much snow at a time
Avoiding Winter Sports Injuries
Winter isn’t all about poor footing and undesirable chores. There are plenty of opportunities for fun, too. Activities like sledding, skiing, and skating can be great, but they also open up some more opportunities for injuries.
Ankle sprains, head injuries, and even broken bones are all possibilities when participating in winter sports. Like any other season, there are certain sports injury prevention tips you should follow:
- Do warmup exercise to get your body ready
- Stop when you feel too tired or cold
- Use the right protective equipment at all times
- Pay attention to your surroundings (especially when sledding or skiing)
Seek a Doctor When Winter Injuries Occur
Unfortunately, slips, strains, and other injuries may still happen even with precaution. When they do, you should seek a medical professional right away. Call 440-934-0276 or contact Westshore online to make an appointment with one of our local physicians today.
Dr. James Ohliger, Jr., D.O.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact your doctor.