Winter is Still Here – and so is the risk of injury
By Dr. Frank J. Scerbo, PT, DPT, MS, CSCS //
This year on February 2nd the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow – said to be a sign that we’re in for six more weeks of winter! The first weeks of this month in New Jersey have certainly borne out the famous rodent’s prediction, with wintry mixes of snow, ice, and freezing rain that can make outdoor activity fun, but also hazardous. At Scerbo Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation we would like to share with you a couple of ways to help you avoid injury as you move through the remaining winter weather.
Walk Like a Penguin
Outdoor surfaces can change quickly with a drop in temperature or new precipitation. Sometimes, we may head out the door without thinking about slippery walkways or steps just waiting to cause a fall. In winter, make sure you wear shoes or boots that have good traction – you can always carry those indoor shoes along with you. And to help maintain balance and avoid slipping, do as penguins do: walk slowly and point your toes out slightly, taking small steps. Keep your head up and try not to lean forward. Keep your arms free, and whenever possible avoid talking on your phone while you walk, since this is both distracting and keeps one arm from helping with balance.
Many falls occur when getting out of the car without looking to see what is under your feet. To avoid falls, slips, and the injuries they can cause, don’t rush, pay attention to conditions and move with caution.
Here We Go Again
This month, we’ve had to dust off the snow shovels and ice scrapers and revisit the joys of digging out and cleaning up. Shoveling is a major cause of winter injuries. But there are some safety tips you can follow to help your body cope with the demands of shoveling:
- Warm-up indoors with 5 to 10 minutes of light exercise and stretching before tackling the outdoor activity – this goes for winter sports as well.
- Dress properly for the weather: keep yourself dry and keep those muscles and joints warm
- Use proper biomechanics: take smaller amounts, avoid twisting motions, bend at hips and knees and use your legs while lifting for less strain on the back.
- Shovel in multiple sessions if needed to keep up with the accumulation – less is easier than more!
- Take frequent rest breaks.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
And of course, if you sustain an injury in any winter activity or sport, know that your Scerbo team is here to help you heal and feel better. Our Edgewater, NJ facility is open and observing all Covid-19 safety protocols. You don’t have to be injured to find out about all the ways our physical therapists can help you be stronger, prevent injury, and stay healthier this winter. Contact our office today at (201) 941-2240 for a physical evaluation with our clinical director Frank J. Scerbo, PT, DPT, MS, CSCS.