Somewhere out there, is a snowball with your name on it…
We’re not going to say “Winter is coming“…but…it is. And with it, comes the risk of injuries unique to the season which is a real bummer given the hoard of activities and holiday festivities on deck across the Lower Mainland. In order to keep pain and discomfort free, we’ve identified everything you need to watch out for so that you can enjoy all that this time of the year has to offer.
5 Injury Causing Events You Need to Be Mindful of and Prepare for this Winter
1. Winter Sports
The Greater Vancouver area is known for access to some of the best ski and snowboarding retreats in the world. At this very moment you may be preparing your gear and getting ready to head for the hills and slopes, but before doing so, take note of the injuries most commonly associated with winter sports. These include concussions along with injuries to the spine/back, hands, wrists, knees and ankles. View our recent article on these common winter sports ailments so that you can enjoy your favorite activities without returning from the mountain on a hobbled leg or worse.
2. Slips and Falls
Whether from frozen rain, sleet, or snow, the pathways below you may be coated with ice after the freeze-thaw cycle does its dirty work day in and out from December to February. Slipping on ice can result in every imaginable injury, including concussions and other impact injuries to the back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and gluteus maximus. Slipping on ice and snow can also have you twist your knees and ankles as you attempt to correct yourself to prevent a fall, ailments which may not be fully known until later in the week as pain and discomfort creep in.
Since most accidents occur in and around your very own property, be sure to shovel your driveway and all paths (sidewalks, etc.) leading to/from your home, and apply a healthy coating of ice melt (salt) to stave off ice and frost. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear with firm grips on the soles when doing this, and when heading out for a walk after snow or freezing temperatures have blanketed the Lower Mainland. Common sense will go a long way to keep this injury inducing event at bay.
3. Shoveling Snow
Yes, we know we told you to get out there and mind your property after snowfall, not only to protect yourself and family, but others (Amazon delivery guy, etc.). However, you must treat your snow shoveling practice in the same way you would a trip to the gym because lower back and neck injuries sustained from this winter chore are much more common than you think.
Thankfully, we’ve already written and wrapped your “How to Shovel Snow and Keep Injury Free” guide. Read through it with care and you’ll check one less concern off of your list this season.
4. Automobile Accidents
The risk of a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia increases in the winter, and it’s not just when you’re on the road. ICBC reports that the number of pedestrian related accidents and injury doubles from October to January due to bad weather and decreased daylight. Whether you are behind the wheel, in the passenger seat, or navigating across intersections on foot, you will need to be more mindful.
As a driver, be sure to winterize your vehicle, drive more defensively, and put away your smartphone along with any other distraction. As a passenger, don’t contribute to driver distraction with conversation that may incite driver stress, laughter, or anything else that can divert attention from the road. As a pedestrian, exercise extreme caution at intersections, even when you have the light. Again, common sense works in your favor here.
If you do end up in an accident and are injured, be sure to follow-up with a physiotherapy clinic that is well known for ICBC chiropractic treatment.
5. Winter Fun Stuff
Then there’s other stuff. The fun activities you may partake at this time of the year. While they are a blast, they can result in injury. Below we’ve laid out some of these typical seasonal activities, along with their commonly associated risks:
- Sledding and tobogganing – risk of impact injuries to the back/spine.
- Ice skating – risk of lower extremity (knees, ankles) injuries and concussions.
- Snowshoeing and hiking – strain to the lower extremities (thighs, knees, ankles)
By no means do you need to keep from doing any of the above. Instead, warm up with stretching exercises, wear appropriate clothing/protection as applicable, and be mindful throughout. Do so and the only injury you’ll need to worry about is scalded tongue syndrome from not waiting to sip your hot cocoa, and perhaps a bruise or two from Yukigassen (professional snowball fighting).
If you’ve recently sustained an injury, or want to start a prevention regime that will help keep you injury free through the winter and beyond, contact Absolute PhysioCare today.