With winter comes the holidays, ski vacations, and long-awaited snow days. However, the ice and inclement weather can also lead to an increase in slips, falls, and injuries that may need treatment by an orthopedic surgeon. To make sure you can get the most out of the season, follow these tips from Dr. Alan S. Hilibrand to stay pain-free while hitting the slopes and spending time with family.
Practice Ladder Safety
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2015, nearly 566,000 Americans received a ladder-related injury and 69,000 went to the doctor or emergency room due to injuries incurred in holiday decorating. Whether you’re removing your holiday decorations or taking care of housework, prevent injury by selecting the right ladder — step stools and utility ladders for low and medium heights, extension ladders for outdoors — and never exceeding the ladder’s maximum load capacity. Make sure it doesn’t have any damage, is clean, and is set on a firm, level surface.
Don’t Rush Holiday Travel
Unfortunately, travel and stress can often be synonymous, and in our hurry to get to our destination or avoid lines, we might strain our backs lifting heavy luggage. In 2015, according to the CPSC, over 84,500 Americans sought medical attention for injuries incurred while lifting or moving luggage — minimize your risk by packing light, being conscientious when carrying a heavy suitcase, and always lifting by bending at your knees and using your legs, rather than your back or waist.
Stay Safe on the Slopes
In 2015, almost 150,000 people sought medical treatment for injuries from skiing and snowboarding. Make sure you’re not sitting the season out by stretching and warming up before tackling fresh powder, and always wear the correct protective gear to keep your joints safe. Know the rules of the sport you’re participating in, and allow your body time to rest in between runs.
Take Precautions Around Snow
Over 165,000 people visited the doctor or emergency room due to injuries from shoveling snow or using a snow blower in 2015. Whatever your preferred method of tackling snow, check with your physician ahead of time to make sure you don’t have any heart or vascular conditions that could be aggravated. Warm up with light exercise 10 minutes prior to going outside, wear correct footwear, and in the case of falling, try to land on your side or buttocks to minimize injury.
Keep an eye out for black ice and other hazardous conditions, and to make sure you, other drivers, and pedestrians stay safe, err on the side of caution. Keep distance between cars, and give yourself plenty of time to brake before stop signs and red lights. If you feel uncomfortable, reduce your speed.
Suffering from a winter-related accident? Dealing with joint pain that impacts your ability to make the most of the season? Contact Dr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon specializing in procedures such as total knee replacement and shoulder surgery.