How to Keep Your Winter Injury Free

How to Keep Your Winter Injury Free

Winter can seem like it’s an accident waiting to happen. A quick walk around the neighbourhood could take twice as long due to ice and snow. Leaving for work in the morning now takes 15 minutes longer. All of these factors mean that injury prevention should be top of mind, when you partake in any winter chores

Common Winter Injuries

  • Shovelling & Clearing Ice/Snow Off Your Car
A girl is shoveling snow around  the car

Shovelling and clearing ice or snow off of your car are common causes of muscle strain. Cold temperatures can cause stiff muscles, combined with extended periods of physical exertion involving twisting and lifting make injury more likely.

  • Slipping on Ice

Slipping on ice can be scary and sudden. Not all ice is easy to see – whether it’s hidden under snow, or not visible because it’s dark every step you take in the wintertime is potential for injury. Most people can catch themselves and recover after a brief skid but sometimes your feet just get away from you causing a fall which can result in everything from a minor bruise or sprain to a concussion. 

How to Prevent Injury

  • Stretch
A girl is stretching on the snow

One of the simplest ways to help prevent injury is stretching. Stretching becomes even more important in the winter months. The the cold can cause your muscles to contract and that stiffness can make you more prone to injury. So before heading out on a winter walk or shovelling your driveway make sure to get the blood flowing and do a long session of dynamic stretching. 

  • Hydrate

Working out or shovelling snow, winter can make it easier for us to forget to hydrate while we’re active. If you have a lot of snow clearing to do, take frequent breaks to drink some water and stretch things out to keep your muscles working effectively. The same goes for being active, if you continue to run or walk outdoors in the winter months, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still carry water. Despite the cold temperatures our need for hydration doesn’t go away, if anything it’s more important!

  • Wear Proper Footwear
Proper winter boots

Winter boots are bulky. But it’s important that you venture out into the snow and ice wearing proper footwear to help prevent slips and falls and thus, injury. Winter boots are not only made for keeping your toes toasty in freezing temperatures. But the outer sole of your boots should have a fair amount of grip and traction to help keep you upright on slippery surfaces!

  • Step Cautiously

It’s easy to try and go about our daily activities like nothing’s changed – but it has. Snow, wind, ice, cold all impact how we move in the winter months. We can’t just walk or run as we do on clear, dry sidewalks or roadways. Winter activities require more cautious movement. This may mean it takes longer to do what you’re doing or get where you’re going but taking the time to step cautiously can mean all the difference when it comes to slips and falls. Take your time!

  • Salt Your Driveway
A guy is salting driveway

Make sure you salt or sand your driveway and sidewalks to help prevent slips and falls on ice. This will make shovelling and clearing your car safer. So, this will keep the sidewalks clear and safe for anyone that walks by. Similarly, if you’re walking or running outdoors in the winter, try and choose the most salted path whenever possible. That will keep areas that are dryer and properly maintained greatly reduces your risk of injury.

  • Use Proper Technique

This is where your chiropractor can come in handy. A visit to Kilian Chiropractic can teach you the proper shovelling technique so you can avoid muscle strains while doing your winter chores. While there are things that are common knowledge like lifting with your legs, there are also lots of techniques that chiropractors can teach you for maintaining proper posture and reducing the strain on your muscles and joints while lifting all that snow!

Managing Injury When It Happens

An accidante on the snow

Sometimes an injury is inevitable – a patch of black ice for example. If an injury occurs prompt treatment will always result in the quickest recovery and best outcomes. A trip to Emerald Hills Physio & Sports Clinic for evaluation, manual therapy and rehabilitation exercises can greatly reduce your pain and recovery time.