How to Stay a Step Ahead of Winter Injuries

Unpredictable weather and potentially risky seasonal activities can make winter a hazardous time of year. Learn how to prevent some of this season’s common injuries.

Broken bones from falls on icy pavement, aching backs from shoveling too much snow and strained muscles from exercising or playing sports in the cold. Here’s what you can do to prevent some of the injuries that frequently occur in winter:

  • Lean into ladder safety. Whether cleaning gutters or hanging holiday lights, take care when using a ladder. Place it on and lean it against firm, nonslippery surfaces. Always keep three points of contact—both hands and one foot or both feet and one hand—on the ladder. Move slowly while working and don’t overreach. (And preferably, have someone assist by holding the ladder).
  • Lift efficiently. That means generating power with your legs and core, not your back, when hoisting boxes of decorations or other heavy items. Bend your knees, keep your back straight and lift slowly and smoothly.
  • Play it safe. Warm up before exercise, wear safety equipment that suits your sport, such as a helmet and pads, and don’t run on wet or icy surfaces.
  • Shovel smart. Repetitive lifting, twisting and tossing while shoveling snow is tough on your back. To reduce your risk of injury, stretch before you start and use the shovel to push the snow to the side rather than lift it. If you have to lift, use your legs and fill the shovel only to half capacity.
  • Tread carefully. When walking on snow or ice, wear shoes with rubber soles, keep your hands free, and take short, deliberate steps.


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