Keep Your Bones and Joints Safe This Winter

Posted on: January 20th, 2022 by Dr. Pradeep N. Raju

Each season certainly has its unique injuries, but winter is accident-prone in its own way! During winter months, you might develop an injury from slipping on ice, strain a muscle while shoveling or blowing snow or break a bone from falling off a ladder. Each year, physicians at OrthoIllinois treat a significant number of patients due to winter weather related injuries.

Types of Winter-Related Injuries
These incidents produce various types of injuries, which can range from mild and easily treatable to severe and long-term. Some of the resultant injuries from these winter accidents most commonly include head injuries, ankle sprains or strains, neck pain or tension, back injuries and more.

Snow removal
We’ve all heard about people who have a heart attack while shoveling. But did you know that even more people experience back and neck injuries from shoveling? Indeed, upwards of 11,000 people visit the emergency room each year because of snow shoveling-related injuries. About 50 percent of those injuries are from musculoskeletal exertion and 15 percent come from being struck by a shovel. Avoid becoming an injury statistic this year by stretching and hydrating before heading out to shovel snow.

Winter sports
There are so many fun things to do during winter. Unfortunately, a lot of them involve slippery ice, so there’s a greater chance of injury with them. Consider that some 300,000 people each year are injured doing winter sports like skiing, ice skating and sledding. Most of the time, those activities cause fractures, sprains and dislocations. You can help prevent those injuries by learning proper technique and using all the recommended equipment for your particular sport or activity.

Slips and falls
Slipping on an icy path has taken all of us by surprise at one time or another. For some people – and for older Americans in particular – the potential of a slip-and-fall is particularly worrisome. Slipping on ice can cause a range of injuries, from bruises and sprains to hip fractures and concussions. Nobody plans to slip on ice, but you can help prevent an injury by walking with short steps to help you maintain balance and footing during the winter.

Car accidents
Clearly, icy conditions make winter driving more hazardous. More than 20 percent of car crashes are weather-related. Injuries caused by auto accidents can leave longstanding problems for patients. They often cause neck, back or limb injuries and might require surgery. Remember to slow down and give yourself extra time when driving in slick conditions.

Tips to Avoid Winter Injuries
Winter injuries are unavoidable and will happen, but there are some things you can do to help prevent them altogether or lessen the burden. Keep these essential tips in mind no matter what winter activity you’re doing:
• Watch for icy patches on sidewalks, driveways or parking lots.
• Choose the most salted path and always salt your own driveway and walkways if it’s icy.
• Slow down and use caution during icy and snowy weather conditions.
• Offer assistance to seniors when they are traversing an icy area and supervise children and monitor adults who may be at risk.

Injury Express
Ortho Illinois’ walk-in Injury Express clinics offer convenient urgent care for injuries with expanded hours seven days a week. They are your fast, friendly source for treating sprains, strains, fractures, cuts and scrapes, work and sports injuries, or painful issues that aren’t getting better – at the cost of an office visit. We currently have three locations in Algonquin, McHenry, and Rockford, with a fourth location opening in Elgin in May of 2022, to serve you with comprehensive services, including radiology, MRI, splinting and casting, as well as therapy, under one roof. For more information, visit

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