STAY SAFE IN WINTER: Tips to Prevent Common Outdoor Injuries

November 16, 2017

ALLENTOWN, PA—The winter season ushers in frigid temperatures, cozy sweaters and decorative snowfalls. While these gifts from Mother Nature make it easy to fall into the fun of the season, it is important to remember the basics in terms of keeping yourself healthy and safe during this time of year.

“Falls, fractures and overexertion-related injuries are most common in the winter,” says Good Shepherd’s Administrative Director of Outpatient Orthopedics and Regulatory Compliance, Cynthia Bauer, PT, DPT, OCS.

These injuries often occur when people strain their back, neck and/or shoulder while pushing or shoveling snow. Additionally, fractures, dislocations, ACL tears and concussions can result from motor vehicle collisions and winter sports activities, such as skiing and snowmobiling. Bauer says that adults are more easily injured in these situations.

“Active kids are more resilient—they typically know how to fall and are more rubbery than adults, especially senior citizens who may have other medical conditions,” says Bauer. “This is why we really try to educate on preventative measures.”

The best way to keep yourself safe and healthy during the winter season is to engage in preventative measures. Good Shepherd recommends the following five tips:

  1. Do some active stretching to warm up before shoveling snow and other outdoor activities. This helps reduce the risk of exacerbating heart problems and prevents muscle strains, dislocations and/or tears.
  2. Stay hydrated. It is vital to keep your body energized and to replenish it with water. Drinking six to eight glasses of water per day is a healthy standard for the average individual.
  3. Wear proper protective gear. Appropriate clothing and protection, such as gloves, helmets and safe footwear, go a long way to prevent injuries. Keeping your limbs and toes/fingers warm also reduces the likelihood of frostbite.
  4. Check that you understand how to properly use equipment, such as snow blowers and plows. Confirm that equipment is still operational from previous usage and is maintained for safety.
  5. Use the buddy system. Never participate alone in any winter-related activity, especially for an extended period of time. It is important to always have a buddy nearby, in case of an emergency or if an extra hand is needed.

If you do experience an injury, physical therapy is an excellent way to find relief. Dr. Bauer recommends to never hesitate when it comes to your health.

Listen to your body—it actually speaks to you!


About Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a nationally recognized rehabilitation leader, offering an unmatched continuum of care for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Good Shepherd treats 65,000 patients annually at more than 60 locations in nine Pennsylvania counties. GSRN is the eighth largest rehabilitation provider in the country, according to Modern Healthcare magazine. Learn more at, Facebook, Twitter @GSRN or @GSRNnews.

Media Contact:
Lynn Gerlach
[email protected]