Safe Snow Shoveling: 8 Tips to Avoid Injury
By Western Berks on February 10th, 2017
This article contains safe snow shoveling tips and information on how to keep yourself injury free this winter season.
Each year, hospital emergency rooms see a spike in the number of people they see for injuries related to shoveling or removing ice and snow. The number of cases are in the thousands. Western Berks Physical therapy doesn’t want you to let yourself become included in those numbers.
As you shovel snow from recent storms or those that may impact the region, here are some tips from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons to keep yourself injury-free.
- Warm-up. Shoveling can be a vigorous activity so warm-up your muscles for 10 minutes with light exercise before you start shoveling.
- Make sure you can see. Be sure that you can fully see the area that you are shoveling. Watch for ice patches and uneven surfaces.
- Dress appropriately. Wear light, layered, water-repellent clothing to provide both ventilation and insulation. Wear the appropriate head covering, warm socks and gloves or mittens. Avoid falls by wearing shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.
- Start early. Clear snow early and often, especially if a large snowfall is expected.
- Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- Lift with good form. Push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift the snow, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift with your legs and do not bend at the waist.
- Don’t twist! Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side because it requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.
- Use the correct shovel. Use a shovel that is comfortable for both your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Space your hands on the tool grip.
Hopefully these simple and safe snow shoveling tips can help you prevent any injuries that could happen while shoveling snow.
If you sustain an injury as a result of shoveling, removing ice or falling during this wintery season, please contact Western Berks Physical Therapy so that we can help relieve your pain from injury.