With the recent influx of snow, there comes another essential chore: shoveling snow.  While this may seem like just another uncomfortably cold and tedious job, keep in mind it is also a very physically taxing activity.

Shoveling snow improperly can lead to serious injuries, including shoulder injuries, so please review these fundamental safety precautions:

  • Before you begin, get the okay from your doctor if you have heart problems, or do not exercise regularly.
  • As with any strenuous physical activity, it is important to first stretch and warm up with some light exercise.
  • Wear slip resistant shoes.
  • If possible, push the snow rather than lifting it.
  • Lift with your legs.
  • Avoid throwing snow over your shoulder, or to the side – as this may also cause back injuries – and keep the shovel in front of you to prevent strain to your joints.Pace yourself – take frequent breaks.

Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries are not uncommon when shoveling snow.  Even when we follow all of the safety precautions, injuries can sometimes happen.  In the instance you experience shoulder pain, you may take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, and apply ice wrapped in a cloth on for 15 minutes, then off for 15 minutes 3 to 4 times a day for 2 or 3 days.

If the pain remains, please come in and see your Orthopedic Surgeon in NYC, Dr. Steven Struhl.  The sooner the injury is treated, the better, as many surgeries can be prevented if the injury is treated right away.

Now that we have reviewed a few safety guidelines for shoveling snow, we can enjoy the remainder of this winter’s snow, and can perhaps focus on some fun, like joining in on the next impromptu snowball fight in Times Square!