Snow shoveling is a standard part of winter life in New York, but it is the cause of many back and neck injuries. Over 11,500 people are injured every year shoveling snow, and most injuries can be prevented.
In this post, we will show you how to prevent snow-shoveling injuries to protect your back and joints this winter.
Choose the Right Type of Shovel
Choose a shovel designed for snow rather than a heavy-duty shovel that could strain your back. Opt for a lightweight design that is no heavier than 3 pounds; a curved handle can also help reduce back strain and make it easier to lift snow.
When it comes to length, ensure the handle reaches your chest to prevent excessive spinal extension. Staying upright as you shovel places less strain on your back.
Lifting snow is strenuous on your body, so you should thoroughly warm up beforehand. Start with light stretching to lubricate your joints and gently stretch your muscles. A brisk walk will also help prepare your body and heart for the task. Muscles that have been warmed up effectively are less likely to sustain a strain or tear.
Wear the Right Footwear
Ensure you have fitted snow boots with deep grooves along the soles for added traction. This will help prevent a slip-and-fall injury. The unique design of snow boots offers additional support at varying snow depths, keeping you balanced at all times.
Load Your Shovel Properly
You should always bend at the knees and lift with the legs, pushing up through your feet rather than lifting with your spine. Keep your back straight as you move snow to the side, and avoid twisting your torso.
Take Regular Breaks
Although it can be tempting to plow through a mountain of snow, it is better to lift lighter loads and take frequent breaks to avoid overexerting yourself. Rest for five minutes after 10-15 minutes of shoveling.
Snow-Shoveling Injury? We Can Help
Please contact us at the Orthopedic Associates of Long Island (OALI) if you have become injured while shoveling show. Our passionate team of orthopedic experts will perform a careful assessment and recommend appropriate care.
You can find our offices at eight locations throughout New York, and we are open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., for your convenience.
To request an appointment, please call 631-689-6698 or submit your request online.