Snow shoveling can be a pain – literally, if not done correctly. It’s important to shovel snow properly to prevent injury. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joseph Abboud said, “Individuals tend to haste through snow shoveling to avoid being outside in the cold for long periods of time. Unfortunately, rushing through this task can lead to injuries. It should always be done at a slow and steady pace because of the energy and focus that’s required. Always check with your doctor before shoveling snow and consider hiring someone to do it for you if you’re unable to.”
In 2014, over 203,000 Americans were treated for injuries related to shoveling snow the old fashioned way, and over 27,000 were treated for injuries related to snow blowers or throwers.
Experts have rounded up some tips in order to prevent injury from snow removal, such as pushing the snow instead of trying to lift it. If you must lift it, lift with your legs and don’t bend at the waist. Don’t throw snow over your shoulder or off to the side, instead walk to where the snow needs to go.
Other tips include clearing snow early and taking breaks. Stay hydrated and if you experience any signs of injury or illness, such as shortness of breath or chest pains, stop what you’re doing and seek medical attention.
Even if you’re using a snow blower, you should still proceed with caution. Always read the instructors, and never leave it running when you step away. If it becomes jammed, try shutting it off for a bit then restarting it – never try to clear a jam while it’s running.
To have a safe winter season, follow the above tips when clearing snow in order to prevent injury.