5 Common Winter Injuries and How You Can Help Prevent Them

The winter months bring extra challenges when it comes to keeping safe with ice, snow, sleet, and other slippery conditions. Unfortunately, winter accidents can come with serious repercussions, so it is best to keep yourself safe and avoid injury altogether. This means paying special attention to the conditions that could put you at risk of injury and taking steps to ensure that you remain as safe as possible. Some of the most common winter injuries, along with tips on how to prevent them, include: 

  1. Snow shoveling injury 

While shoveling snow can be a great workout, it is also a long and laborious task, especially when the snow is heavy and wet. Sometimes, people push themselves too far and end up with serious injuries. The twisting and lifting involved with shoveling put quite a strain on the body, especially in frigid temps, so it is important to pay close attention to how you are feeling. When your muscles start to tire, they become more prone to pulls or tears. Even a small muscle injury can cause your entire back, shoulders, and neck to tighten, which leaves you open to an additional injury. When shoveling, you are also at risk of fracturing a bone or cutting yourself on the edge of the shovel should you slip and fall. 

To avoid injury, make sure that you have the right type of shovel. Using an instrument not meant for snow can increase your risk of injury since it will not have the right balance. Also, review proper lifting techniques before going outside. Always lift with your legs, not your back, and keep your body in line as you twist and throw. Stretch your muscles before you begin and take a break when you start to feel fatigued. 

  1. De-icing muscle strains 

While removing snow and ice from your vehicle may not seem as strenuous as shoveling snow from walkways and driveways, many people injure their backs this way. This is because they may contort themselves in strange positions to reach icy spots on their car. The strain from this alone can result in a back injury and put them at risk of slipping and falling, especially if they are not paying close attention to their footing.  

When removing snow and ice from your vehicle, always mind your footing, especially if you are going to be scraping ice since that often requires a bit of leverage. Move slowly and avoid overreaching. Listen to your body and think about different ways of getting to the spot if you start to get uncomfortable. Also, starting the car and giving it some time to warm up before you begin can help you minimize the amount of work involved and keep your back protected.  

  1. Icy surface slips 

Some of the most common injuries seen in the winter are those associated with a slip and fall on ice. Black ice can quickly ruin a day and result in sprains, breaks, pulls, and even concussions. Even if you do not fall, a slip itself can cause you to twist an ankle, among other injuries. The number of falls always increases during the winter months, but there are some key things to do to protect yourself.  

The most important thing is to wear the right footwear whenever you go outside in the snow and ice. If fashion is important to you, just take your desired shoes along with you and keep the boots on while outside. A quality pair of hiking or snow boots will help you keep your grip to prevent slipping in the first place. Beyond wearing the right shoes, it is important to slow down and take your time. Take deliberate steps; don’t rush. Also, keep an eye on where you are walking and look out for potential hazards or black ice, avoiding these spots altogether. 

  1. Driving accidents 

Just as walking is more dangerous in the winter because of snow and ice, so is driving. If you live in a snowy area, it’s best to put snow tires on your vehicle. These are meant to resist the slippery wet pavement that can result from most winter weather. Always check the weather before you go for a drive to avoid a nasty surprise, and keep an eye on the travel lane to identify potential hazards long before they become an issue. These simple steps can help avoid accidents resulting in back and neck injuries, whiplash, or related issues.  

  1. Winter sports trauma 

With the winter months come opportunities for exciting outdoor sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice hockey. Any sports activity comes with risk, but winter pursuits can be especially dangerous. Even something as simple as sledding can result in injury if the proper precautions are not taken. However, this does not mean that you need to avoid these activities altogether; rather, make sure that you take the proper steps to avoid injury.  

You should always warm up before you engage in any sports activity and check the weather report to make sure you will not get stuck in unexpected conditions. In addition, invest in high-quality, well-fitting protective gear. Check equipment before using it. While buying the right gear and equipment can be expensive, it is still cheaper than the cost of a serious injury, so always keep that in mind when making a purchase.

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