Proper Snow Shoveling

It’s the one thing we Marylander’s love and dread at the same time…snow. With snow days being an exciting part of our childhood past, for adults the thought of flakes falling from the sky is more of a nightmare than a dream come true. While sleigh riding, skiing and snowball fights may bring us delight, the increased risk for injury can put a quick damper on the fun. Not to mention there is a higher risk for accidents on the road and slipping injuries just walking along the sidewalk. But one of the most common and often overlooked injuries during the winter occur when we are shoveling our walking paths and driveways.

11,000 Snow Shoveling Injuries a Year

On average, the emergency room sees about 11,000 shoveling related cases a year. If this surprises you, take a quick personal assessment of your technique and consider just how safe you are being with your shoveling chores. Many of us believe that we are practicing a proper lift and heave method, but often times we are causing slow and steady injury to our bodies.

Dress Properly 

First thing to consider before you even walk out the front door is attire. Your clothing should keep you warm, but also leave you able to perform the functional task of shoveling. Wear thin layers, a hat and gloves, warm socks and boots that have good tread.

Proper Technique

The brand and quality of your shovel isn’t quite as important as the quality of your form. Even the most ergonomically conscious shovel can leave you feeling achy and sore, or with an injury at worse. Review your mechanics as you prepare to lift that first mountain of snow.

  1. Bend at the hips and knee and lift from your core.
  2. Avoid pivoting and push snow in front of you.
  3. Know your limits, never lift more than your body can handle.
  4. Take frequent rest breaks to rest and recharge before continuing.

Lastly, make sure to have fun. The fear of an impending snow fall has caused us to lose sight of the exhilaration we once knew. Build a snowman, make a snow angel, pull the kids on a sled, drink some hot cocoa and watch the snow fall on the trees and create a blanket on the grass.

If you have questions about winter related injuries or need to make an appointment, please contact us at one of our 5 locations. Enjoy your winter and be safe!