Thousands of people are seen at emergency rooms and doctors’ offices each winter for injuries sustained while shoveling snow. The bending, lifting and cold exposure puts you at risk for sprains or strains, frostbite and added stress, particularly on the heart.
Get tips to avoid snow shoveling injuries and learn how massage therapy can help with winter aches and pains.
3 Tips to Avoid Snow Shoveling Injuries
Follow these tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to lower your risk for injury.
- Dress appropriately. Light, layered, water-repellent clothing provides both ventilation and insulation. It is also important to wear appropriate head covering; thick, warm socks; and gloves or mittens that will keep your hands warm, dry and blister-free. Avoid falls by wearing shoes or boots that have slip-resistant soles.
- Start early. It’s best to begin shoveling when there is just a light covering of snow on the ground. Starting early will give you the best chance possible to avoid the potential injuries that come with moving packed, heavy snow.
- Use proper technique. Try to push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift with your legs; do not bend at the waist. Scoop snow in light, small pieces, and avoid throwing it over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.
Adapted from the winter 2016 issue of Massage Therapy Journal.