A Physiotherapist’s Guide To Preventing Winter Related Injuries
December 7, 2021 | integraadmin

We all dread it, but it’s happening: winter is coming, and the fun times on ice and snow will be met with injuries if you are not careful. Sure, our Canadian winters are long, and we should be experts by now at traversing the winterscape. Still, even the best of us winter aficionados have fallen prey to slippery sidewalks and aching pain from shoveling a fresh layer of snow from our driveway. 

We have a few tips to help you prevent slips and falls, along with other serious injuries that can occur during the winter.

 

Tip 1: Stay Warm

While we all dress up in winter to stay warm and avoid getting frostbite, did you know that keeping your body temperature warm helps injury prevention in the colder months? So, get dressed in your warmest coat, dress in layers if you have to, and protect your body from the cold as much as you can. 

When the temperature drops below freezing, your body begins to constrict as it loses heat. As a result of the lack of blood flow, your muscles and joints will begin to feel more strained. You can keep your muscles supple and avoid pinched nerves or sprains by keeping your body temperature warm.

 

Tip 2: Proper Shovelling Techniques

 There are often three options when it comes to removing snow from your driveway and entrance. First, you can hire a shoveling company who will come to your home with a snowblower vehicle and take care of it in under five minutes. Second, you can use a manual snowblower and push your way to a snow-free driveway. 

Finally, there’s the old-school option: doing it yourself with a shovel. While this is the standard choice for many Canadians, it’s also the most physically demanding. There is, however, a method to apply to avoid serious back injuries. 

Lift using your legs to take the weight off your back and avoid hurting your back muscles. When dumping snow from your shovel, make sure to turn your entire body. This will prevent you from pulling a back muscle by turning your body too forcibly.

Also, try to shovel the snow when it’s fresh because it usually weighs less than snow that’s been sitting there in the cold for a few days. Furthermore, we recommend taking a slow and steady approach to put less strain on your body. You can even try involving the whole family to make the process go faster!

 

Tip 3: Best Practices to Prevent Slip and Falls

The number one tip to avoid slipping on the icy ground is to walk like a penguin. It’s always a good idea to borrow survival techniques from the animal kingdom, and penguins have mastered walking on icy terrain. You want to walk with your toes hitting the ground first and then follow through with your heel. 

Essentially, it’s the complete opposite of a supermodel walk. You want to walk slowly and look out for any patches of ice. If possible, you can purchase snow cleats for your winter boots to ensure a firm grip on the icy ground. This is highly recommended, especially if you are much older and more prone to severe bone injuries. 

Furthermore, try buying salt to spread all over your main entrance stairs and driveway. Not only will it help you avoid slipping on ice, but it will also help melt the ice faster if the sun is out.

Unfortunately, winter accidents can happen despite being prepared or following valuable tips. 

Thankfully, you can always rely on our physiotherapists at Integra Health Centre. We provide a wide range of health services delivered by skilled and experienced healthcare providers. 

Please call us at (416) 777-9355 or book your consultation online here.