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winter injuries

Winter Is A Great Time To Take Care Of Injuries

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winter injuries

As Mother Nature keeps bringing on the winter wind, now is the time to think about spring and summer!  We were promised an early spring by Punxsutawney Phil, so it must be right around the corner.  Nagging winter injuries that you don’t address now, could end up hindering your return to the great outdoors. Waiting to take care of these injuries when the first fair day arrives can be too late. No one wants to lose weeks to months of fun in the sun because of  a lengthy rehabilitation. By taking care of these injuries now, you can have plenty of time to enjoy your favorite activities in the best kind of weather.

BACK INJURIES
From picking up leaves in the fall to shoveling snow, low back injuries are common this time of year. While a simple back ache may dissipate in a day or two after shoveling out after a winter storm, if it lingers longer than a week, chances are it’s not going away on its own. Waiting until the first round of golf to find out that you can’t complete the back swing due to low back pain not only severely hinders the golf game, but can also severely hinder the recovery. The more chronic the pain is, the longer it takes to eliminate the pain once treatment is started. Pain management becomes more complex; muscle strength atrophies; and bad spinal mechanics become a difficult habit to break. Fortunately, from a simple muscle strain to a herniated disc, all low back injuries have the opportunity to be conservatively managed quickly if treatment is sought out quickly.

JOINT REPLACEMENTS
Fear of slipping and falling is often the biggest rationale people wait to have their much needed joint replacement surgeries. While a legitimate concern, the process of recovery and length of time for recovery is often overlooked by patients. For a typical total hip replacement, it can take 12 weeks or more to feel “normal” again. For a total knee replacement, that time line can extend to six months. By waiting until spring to have the surgery, patients forego their fun-in-the-sun for recovery and rehabilitation. However, if that same surgery were elected to be performed in the late fall or winter, then plenty of warm weather is still left in the year to enjoy the capabilities of the new joint. To address the fear of falling, simple precautions can easily be taken to minimize the risk of slip and fall in the snow following the surgery. As an added benefit, patients in the winter often experience less swelling then those in the summer, as a result of the reduced humidity.

ROTATOR CUFF REPAIRS
Similar to joint replacement surgery, shoulder surgeries are often avoided in the winter due to the fear of falling. However, again, similar to joint replacement surgeries, the length of time for recovery from this surgery is grossly underestimated. Returning to swing a golf club, throwing a ball, or even swimming laps in a pool will take a
minimum of 12 weeks of physical therapy. While a neighborhood teenager may need to be hired to shovel the snow, the winter hibernation season is an idea for resting and mending from a rotator cuff repair surgery. After completing a comprehensive rehabilitation program with your physical therapist, you will be ready to tee off with your regular golf league and enjoy your planned summer vacation without restrictions.

SPORTS EVALUATIONS AND CONDITIONING
Winter is not only the time to remedy nagging injuries, but it’s the perfect time to prepare for the athletic season ahead. Whether you are a runner, a golfer, or an over-40 league softball player, preparing for the upcoming outdoor activities can help prevent future nagging injuries. During the “off-season” is the best time to undergo performance and biomechanical evaluations with physical therapist trained in motion analysis. From this evaluation deficiencies can be addressed and a plan for improvement implemented. Furthermore, winter is a perfect time to re-strengthen after the holidays and to condition yourself into the shape you need to be in in order to enjoy those outdoor activities and minimize the concern for strains and sprains. In just a few simple visits to physical therapy, conditioning tips and technique changes can help make the warm weather even more rewarding and enjoyable.

The winter is long and it would be unfortunate to miss enjoying any of the warm, sunny weather heading our way in a few months. Addressing lingering winter injuries now will help ensure a fun spring and summer without restrictions. Always discuss your medical options with your Doctor first. Then, call your physical therapist to help accelerate your recovery and be a picture of health.

Heart Disease to Healthy Hearts

Healthy Hearts This February

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Heart Disease to Healthy Hearts

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.

According to the Office of Disease Prevention you can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.

To lower your risk you can:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

A Snapshot: Blood Pressure in the U.S. Make Control Your Goal. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the first and fourth leading causes of death for all Americans. High Blood Pressure Basics. 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure. High blood pressure contributes to ~1,000 deaths/day. When your blood pressure is high, you are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke, and you are 3 times more likely to die from heart disease. 69% of people who have a first heart attack, 77% of people who have a first stroke, and 74% of people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure. Annual estimated costs associated with high blood pressure: $51 billion, including $47.5 billion in direct medical expenses. Blood Pressure Control. Only about half of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Reducing average population systolic blood pressure by only 12–13 mmHg could reduce stroke by 37%, coronary heart disease by 21%, deaths from cardiovascular disease by 25%, and deaths from all causes by 13%. Make Control Your Goal, Every Day. Check your blood pressure regularly—at home, at a doctor’s office, or at a pharmacy. Eat a healthy diet with more fruits, vegetables, potassium, and whole grains and less sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol . Read nutrition labels and lower your sodium intake. Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed and restaurant foods. About 90% of Americans eat too much sodium. Quit smoking—or don’t start. 1-800-QUIT-NOW or Smokefree.gov. Adults should limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Get active and maintain a healthy weight. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. This infographic was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in support of achieving the Million Hearts® initiative goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
The American Heart Association also has some great resources on their website including tips to stay active, and how to make every move count!

If you need help finding exercises and activities that fit your lifestyle and abilities talk to your physical therapist. PT’s specialize in the science of movement, so who better to ask! If you don’t have a physical therapist make sure you check out our PT finder and get started on your path to a healthy heart this February!

seniors start exercising

Seniors: It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising

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seniors start exercising

For years, seniors have attributed their aches, pains, and illnesses to the normal aging process. Age is often used as a reason to avoid exercise. But a regular exercise program can improve the quality of your life and help you avoid illness, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As always, you should consult with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.

WHAT WE KNOW
Most people know that with age, come certain physiological changes. Studies show that we lose the following as we age:
• Lean muscle tissue—Most of us will lose muscle mass as we get older. We usually hit our peak muscle mass early—around age 20—and begin losing muscle mass thereafter.
• Aerobic capacity—The aerobic capacity is the ability of the heart and the body to deliver and use oxygen efficiently. Changes in the heart and decrease in muscle tissue decrease aerobic capacity.
• Balance—As we age, our ability to balance decreases, making falls and injuries more likely. The loss of muscle is a major contributor to losses on balance.
• Flexibility—Our joints and tendons lose some of their range of motion with age, making it difficult to bend and move around comfortably.
• Bone density—Most of us reach our peak bone density around age 20. After that, bones can become gradually thinner and weaker, which can lead to osteoporosis.

Fortunately, regular exercise can help delay some of these changes and give you the energy you need to do everyday activities like walking, shopping, and playing with your grandchildren. Exercise may even help decrease depression and stress, improve mood and self-esteem, and postpone age-related cognitive decline.

By adding endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance training into your routine, you will be healthier, happier, and more energetic.

senior push ups

ENDURANCE
Decades ago, doctors rarely recommended aerobic exercise for older people. But we now know that most people can safely do moderate exercises. Studies have shown that doing aerobic exercise just a few days a week can bring significant improvements in endurance.

Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise—such as brisk walking, bicycling, or swimming—at least 5 days a week. You do not have to do 30 minutes at once—you can break these sessions up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions. Moderate exercise will cause your heart rate to rise and your breathing to be slightly elevated, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.

STRENGTH
It is not just aging that makes people lose muscle. One of the main reasons older people lose muscle mass is that they stop exercising and doing everyday activities that build muscle.

Building stronger muscles can help protect your joints, strengthen your bones, improve your balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, and make it easier for you to move around in general. Even small changes in your muscle size and strength—ones that you cannot even see—will make things like walking quickly across the street and getting up out of a chair easier to do.

Aim to do strength exercises (eg, weight lifting) every other day, or at least twice a week. For each exercise, do three sets of 8-12 repetitions.

FLEXIBILITY
Increasing your overall activity level and doing stretching exercises can markedly improve your flexibility.

To improve the flexibility—or range of motion—of your joints, incorporate bending and stretching exercises into your routine. A good time to do your flexibility exercises is after your strength training routine. This is because you muscles will already be warmed up. Examples of exercises that you may enjoy include Tai chi, yoga, Pilates, and exercises that you do in the water.

By regularly stretching, you will be able to move around easier. You may also feel less stressed, and your posture will improve.

BALANCE
Just becoming more physically active will improve your balance and decrease your risk of falling. If you add some basic balancing exercises to your exercise routine, you will begin feeling more stable on your feet. Balance exercises can be done just about anywhere and usually require no more equipment than a chair.

Keep in mind that if you are having severe problems with balance, a fall prevention physical therapy program can be a great way to regain your balance, increase strength or improve flexibility.

GETTING STARTED
To avoid injury, start slowly. Add one or two sessions a week at first and progress from there as you begin to feel stronger. A physical therapist, or other health professional, can help develop a program that will be both safe and effective. Check with your local fitness or community center, which may offer exercise classes designed especially for older adults. Check with your primary health care provider if you are planning to participate in vigorous activities.

Remember, it is never too late to start exercising. The sooner you start, the sooner you will start feeling healthier, more energetic, and less stressed.

RESOURCES:
American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
http://www.fitness.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Effects of aging. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00191. Updated September 2009. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Exercise and physical activity: your everyday guide from the National Institute on Aging. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity-your-everyday-guide-national-institute-aging-1. Updated February 16, 2016. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Physical activity: glossary of terms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/terms/index.htm#Moderate. Updated June 10, 2015. Accessed on April 4, 2016.

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

FOOSH

FOOSH – Silly Name, Serious Injury

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FOOSH

One of the most common mechanism of injury from falls is called a FOOSH (Fall on an Out Stretched Hand) injury. Don’t let the funny name fool you. A FOOSH injury is one of the most debilitating ways to injure your upper extremity and cause a significant loss of function. A Foosh occurs when a person is on their way down during a fall and tries to brace for impact using their hands. This is a natural response to falling and is difficult to try and prevent. The resulting impact of the hand and wrist on the ground can cause varying types of injuries from strains and sprains to fractures of the hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder.

What to look for if you experience a FOOSH Injury

1. Fractures: Typically, the fractures of the forearm from a FOOSH are the easiest to spot. They become swollen and bruised very rapidly and are associated with a lot of pain. Often times they produce a visible bulging of the skin of the forearm which can even protrude outside of the body. Fractures of the wrist and forearm will need to be evaluated and often times re-set and casted. Following casting the person must regain strength and range of motion through a guided exercise program before normal function can return. These injuries may take as long as 12 weeks to heal, but as many as 20 weeks for return to normalcy. This process can be expedited significantly by a referral to a well-trained physical therapist.

2. Sprains: Sprains from a FOOSH are much more difficult to spot. A sprain is a common injury to a ligament that normally holds one bone to another as a part of a joint. It most likely causes moderate to severe swelling, bruising, and pain. The pain may occur both by moving the joint yourself or having someone else move the joint while you are relaxed. During a sprain, a non-contractile piece of tissue becomes torn partially or completely. The result is a joint that is too lax to allow proper joint stability. This can cause problems for years following the initial injury. Think of the brake system on your bicycle. If the brake cable becomes elongated the brake does not function correctly until it is repaired. An evaluation by a physical therapist is necessary to diagnose and treat a sprain correctly and to prevent further injury to the injury site as well as allow for speedy recovery.

3. Strains: Strains are also difficult to spot following a FOOSH. A strain differs from a sprain in that it occurs as a tearing of the tendon instead of a ligament. This can present like a sprain with swelling and bruising, but will have a few different characteristics. Tendons attach to bone on one side and a muscle on the other. Tendons therefore hurt with both passive motion, but also with active motion. Strains of the wrist and hand can cause a significant loss in function with things like writing, typing, or even just holding an object in your hand. Without intervention, this can lead to progressively worsening problems like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome which may need surgical intervention if not attended to quickly.

No matter your age or fitness level please use caution to avoid these types of debilitating injuries. If you do fall, it is important to consult your health care provider. During rehabilitation we can help you reduce pain, increase strength and regain function. Please feel free to call us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

remain active with a knee injury

How to Remain Active with a Knee Injury

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remain active with a knee injury

In the U.S., ACL and other knee injuries are one of the most common orthopedic and sports-related injuries. For athletes, physically-active folks, and health-conscious individuals, suffering a knee injury can be particularly difficult as they find themselves suddenly immobilized, with minds craving for exercise. Fortunately, as with any injury, there is always something that can be done. As your knees heal, you need only to modify and adapt your training regimen and lifestyle so that you don’t lose the hard-earned strength, stamina, and sport-specific fitness that you’ve so far acquired.

Consider the following 3 tips on how to remain active with a knee injury and keep yourself in the proverbial game.

Tips to Remain Active

1. Find the Right Exercise Regimen

Knee or ACL injuries are particularly problematic as most endurance exercises, and many strength training activities, require activity and flexion in the knees. Thankfully, an injured knee should not keep you bedridden and away from any physical activity. There are still many other activities that you can do to stay active and physically fit, and even recuperate faster.

You do have to be smart about choosing the exercises and always (always!) consult your doctor, physical therapist, or other medical professional. Depending on the severity and extent of your injury, they may recommend a variety of exercises and activities and keep you from exacerbating your condition.

Knee-Friendly Cardio

It’s difficult to think of cardio exercises that do not require flexion and extension of your knees. You may have to wait until you’ve fully recovered to run, jog, or hike again. Nevertheless, you still have many other options for cardio that do not require one knee (or two). Ask your doctor about kayaking, one-legged cycling, rowing, or using an arm ergometer (the handcycle machine).

You could even try swimming, which is a favorite of many with joint or muscle issues! Of course, you’ll need some support or a buoy to keep you from kicking with your legs. Check your local swimming pool if hydrotherapy classes are available. As soon as you are able and approved by your physical therapist, return to doing regular walks, but keep them light and short.

Keep Flexibility and Strengthen Other Muscle Groups

Along with cardio, remember to keep your flexibility and strength up as well. Although you should expect some muscle loss in and around your problem knee, you can still train your other muscle groups.

Again, consult your doctor or a physical therapist before attempting any strength training methods. Depending on your condition, your PT may recommend assisted bench presses for your chest and arm muscles, Lat pulldowns or seated cable rows for your back, presses for your shoulders, as well as appropriate core exercises for your abs and obliques. You may also inquire of their recommended repetition and load for each exercise.

With strength training also comes the importance of flexibility exercises. These activities will keep you nimble, lower risk of injury, and make for more efficient muscles.

Always Warm Up thoroughly

Whatever physical activity you end up doing, never forget to warm up. The proper warm-up techniques deter injury and prepare you both physically and mentally.

2. Wear the right gear

You’ll also need to pay closer attention to your exercise gear whenever you’re physically active. Although you won’t be training your knee directly, a good supportive shoe that absorbs impacts will be invaluable to your recovery.

Another crucial accessory for staying active with an injured knee is a good compression knee brace. Look for the best compression knee brace you can get and find the one that suits your particular injury best. Compression knee brace gives added support to the knees, reduces swelling, relieves pain, increases blood circulation, and aids in the healing process.

You could also give resistance bands a try, particularly when your weight training or stretching. These will help reduce any pressure on your knees.

3. Focus on other healthy habits

An active mind will motivate you to stay physically active as well. Of course, you won’t get as much exercise as before, at least not until you fully recover. Thus, in the meantime, you can set your mind to other healthy activities. For example, now would be a great time to improve your diet and sleep routine. Find a good diet that will help you maintain and keep the weight off (or lose, depending on your doctor’s orders.

Getting better quality sleep is paramount regardless if you’re injured or not. In fact, it’s as important as exercise and diet for a healthy and active lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

No one wants to lose all the progress and fitness gains they’ve made when they’re injured. And with the right mindset and determination, you won’t have to. Find the right exercise, equip yourself with the right gear, and focus on other healthy habits. Give some time to healing and rehabilitation. You’ll be jumping again before you know it. Never let an injury discourage or demotivate you from reaching your health or fitness goals.

About The Author
Aaron Burns is the Owner and freelance writer for Apex Health & Care. A site dedicated to informing and educating people about the right products to support their injuries. Aaron discovered his passion for health and fitness at the young age of 9, after spraining his ankle during a weekly soccer match. He was forced to wear custom orthotics (thanks, flat feet!) and ankle braces to avoid re-injuring his ankle. This childhood experience spurred his passion for writing content surrounding the themes of health, fitness and nutrition. He hopes to aid people of all ages in their endeavor of remaining happy, healthy and mobile as they grow older.

common workout injuries

Common Workout Injuries and How to Avoid Them

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Nothing can put a halt in your fitness journey like a workout injury. As we start the new year, many will embark on a journey to achieve their own personal fitness goals. However, injuries such as sprains, fractures, lower back pain, and other injuries can stop you from reaching your goals. Making sure you are educated on the different types of injuries and how to prevent them can help you avoid the headache of a potential injury. If you do injure yourself, resting, icing the injury, compressing it and elevating it can help you recover from minor injuries and get right back into your fitness routine. If you are experiencing a lingering pain, please consult your physical therapist. Pain can be a warning sign from your body that an injury is likely to occur. Fitness19 has created an infographic highlighting the most common workout injuries and how you can avoid them. Check it out below for more information.

Common Workout Injuries and how to avoid them.

PT News PTandMe

PT News December 2018

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout December, 2018. Featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

Shedding Holiday Pounds

1. Shed Those Extra Holiday Pounds
Written by The Jackson Clinics with physical therapy locations throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland.

The holidays are here once again, with all their edible temptations, and you would like to get into better shape after they have passed. This time you are determined to find an approach that will prevent frustration, keep you motivated and help you achieve your fitness goal.  Read more

 

Snow Shoveling

2. Prevent Low Back Pain While Shoveling Snow
Written by the Therapy Team at Rehab Associates of Central VA with 11 physical therapy locations throughout Central Virginia.

As I was shoveling the snow off my driveway this week, I quickly realized that I needed to adjust my technique or I was going to pay for it later. Injury can result from repetitive movements with a general lack of awareness and variability in movement and may be prevented with some easy steps.  Read more

Fire fighter workers compensation

3. One Fire Captain’s Story: From a Workers’ Comp Injury to a Full Recovery
Written by the Therapy Team at ARC Physical Therapy+ with locations across Kansas, Missouri and Iowa

Bryan Bogue, the Fire Captain with the City of Independence, Missouri Fire Department was on a medical call and needed to lift a heavy bag over a concrete wall. It seemed like a fairly straightforward task until he raised his arms and felt a tendon snap in his elbow. The pain was immediate and severe. Read more

fall prevention physical therapy

Fall Prevention Programs Can Keep You On Your Feet!

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One in every three adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States – WWW.CDC.GOV

The numbers are staggering. Apparently not only does the eyesight go, but balance along with it. The two could be seen as going hand in hand since the worse your vision gets, the more likely you are to bump into or trip on something unnoticed. Fear not worried reader. Physical therapy may not improve vision, but it does improve the ability to manage and reduce the likelihood of a fall and even more importantly, a resulting hip fracture.

Fall prevention physical therapy conditioning programs offered by physical therapists are designed to increase independence with functional activities, functional mobility, and safety awareness while decreasing fall risk. Research has shown that a successful fall prevention program must be multi-dimensional. A program must address all underlying factors in addition to strength and balance. Physical therapists use valid and reliable assessments to determine all the factors affecting each individual’s fall risk. Therapy focuses on reducing the factors and decreasing fall risk. This is consistent with the protocols recommended by: The American Geriatrics Society and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ Panel on Fall Prevention Guidelines.

THE MAIN GOALS OF THE FALL PREVENTION PHYSICAL THERAPY CONDITIONING PROGRAM ARE:

  • Increase independence with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Increase independence with functional mobility
  • Decrease fall risk
  • Prevent future fall
  • Increase safety
  • Patient education

Still on the fence?
Don’t take our word for it. We have included an adapted Tinetti Balance Assessment Tool to help assess the likelihood of a fall. The Tinetti tool is the oldest clinical balance assessment tool and the widest used among older people (Yelnik, Bonan 2008). The advantages of Tinetti’s balance assessment tool are its inclusion of both balance and gait and its good inter-rater reliability and excellent sensitivity. (You can read more at the US National Library of Medicine).

Once you have taken your test – ask your physical therapist to go over the results and what options are available to decrease the risk of falls. Find your PT HERE!

Tinetti-Balance-Tool

For more information about balance and fall prevention click the links below:


    
winter sports safety

Winter Sports Safety

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winter sports safety

The first snow fall is exciting. It’s a signal to strap on the skis and skates, or even jump on a sled. Days spent playing in the frosty snow can be jam packed with fun, but like any activity you need to play safely. Winter activities can lead to the same bumps and bruises of every sport, but there’s the added concern of how to safely stay outside in cold temperatures. To help with that we have compiled a few winter snow safety strategies to help you avoid some of the most common winter sport injuries.

General Guidelines
No matter what your winter sport is, it is important to take a few minutes and make sure you know how to be safe.
Suggestions include:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute. Start strength training the muscles you will need a month or so ahead of time. This will help you get into proper shape.
  • Make sure you are in good physical condition for activities in the cold. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.
  • Warm up with light exercise for 5 minutes before you engage in any sport.
  • Make sure your equipment and protective gear is in good condition and fits well.
  • Always wear the appropriate protective gear for your sport.
  • Dress properly for the cold. Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Wear several layers of tops and pants under warm jackets. Wear hats and water-resistant gloves. Face masks may be necessary for very cold weather.
  • Protect your eyes from snow glare with shatter-proof sunglasses or goggles with UV protection.
  • Take lessons to improve your ability. Better skills will allow you to adjust to changing conditions.
  • Many organizations, like the National Ski Areas Association, recommend the use of helmets for down hill winter sports to prevent head injury.

Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding have their own special equipment. The right equipment and the right fit are as important as knowing what you are doing. This will reduce your risk of injury.
Here are some other things you need to know:

  • Take lessons from an expert. Evidence supports that beginners are hurt more frequently. The quicker you improve, the safer you will be on the slopes.
  • Stick with your abilities. Do not attempt to ski a slope that is beyond your personal abilities. Ski marked trails and observe trail signs. Rest when you get tired.
  • Be sure that equipment is properly maintained and clean—no dirt or salt between boots, bindings, and the binding mechanism.
  • Properly adjust bindings to reduce the chance of leg injuries. Test your ability to escape bindings by standing in the skis, then twisting to release the toe and heel pieces
  • Wear the proper gear for snowboarding. This includes snowboarding pants, wrist guards, arm guards, and shin guards.
  • When approaching the lift, be aware pieces of clothing that could become entangled.
  • Wear a helmet specifically designed for snow sports.
  • Always ski or board with a buddy.
  • Know and observe all the rules about crossing a trail, passing, and stopping.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Wear bright colors.
  • If you are cross-country skiing for long distances, take snacks, water, extra clothes, and first aid supplies with you. Take a cell phone if you will be skiing in a remote area.

Skating
Skating injuries often result from tripping on bumps in the ice, colliding with other skaters, and falling through the ice.
Recommendations to skaters include:

  • Skate with a buddy or at least make sure there are other people around.
  • Stick to shallow flooded fields and supervised areas.
  • Avoid lakes, ponds, or rivers until the ice has been tested by a local official.
  • Never skate close to open bodies of water.
  • Supervise all small children.
  • Never build fires  or drive cars on ice.
  • In case of a fall into icy water:
    – Do not climb out right away. Kick into a horizontal position and try to slide onto solid ice.
    – When out of the water, roll away and do not stand until you put several body lengths between you and the broken ice.
  • To rescue others that have fallen through the ice:
    – Call emergency medical services right away and do not walk up to the break.
    – Use a reaching aid, such as a rope. If possible, form a human chain, each person holding onto the heels of the next person.
    – If you have to go onto the ice, distribute weight by lying flat over a wide area. Try to use another reaching aid to close the distance between you and the break in the ice.

hockey

Hockey
Hockey-related injuries can occur on the ice, street, field, or in the gym.
Recommendations for hockey players include:

  • Always wear protective equipment. This includes helmets, pads, hockey pants, gloves, athletic supporter or cup, and neck protector.
  • Make sure everything fits you properly and that it is in good condition.
  • Show good sportsmanship. Do not hit other players and bystanders who happen to get in the way.
  • Do not engage in fighting.

If you experience an injury while having fun on the slopes or in the rink, go see your physical therapist. A PT can evaluate your injury, start a treatment plan, and most importantly, make sure you’re able to get back out enjoying your winter sports and activities. They might even go back out with you.

by Amy Scholten, MPH

En Español

RESOURCES:
National Safety Council
http://www.nsc.org

US Consumer Product Safety Commission
http://www.cpsc.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Canada Safety Council
http://www.safety-council.org

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:
Castellani JW, Young AJ, et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Prevention of cold injuries during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006;38(11):2012-2029.
Concussion in winter sports. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HockeyConcussions. Updated December 24, 2012. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Extreme winter sports can lead to extreme injuries. National Safety Council website. Available at: http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/extreme-winter-sports-can-lead-to-extreme-injuries-2. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Frostbite. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 15, 2011. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Ice safety. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website. Available at: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/OutdoorRecreation/activities/iceSafety.html. Updated December 2, 2013. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Ice skating. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/~/media/Centers%20and%20Services/Departments%20and%20Divisions/Sports%20Medicine%20Division/Sports%20Medicine%20PDFs/InjuryPrevention%20Series/IceSkating.ashx. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Ice skating safety facts and tips. National Safety Council website. Available at http://www.nsc.org/news_resources/Resources/Pages/IceSkatingSafety.aspx#.VEU9aCLF-So. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Hypothermia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 11, 2014. Accessed October 20, 2014.
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Last reviewed July 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 10/20/2014

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

PT can Help

Elf Injuries and How PT Can Help: Part 1 of 3

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It’s that time of year, when we check in on Santa’s helpers to see if they can use some physical therapy. With their heavy lifting and high demand job they’re always experiencing injuries. Our new elf friend Ziggy, is the perfect patient for physical therapy. Let’s see how PT can help Ziggy!

Here’s part of his story…

Ziggy was working late one night in the North Pole. When all of a sudden… he lifted a large toy scooter and fell over on to his back. OUCH!

elf on PT & Me website

Luckily, Santa and his elves have an amazingly good north pole internet provider, and Ziggy was able to go online to the PTandMe website and find great physical therapy clinics in his area.

elf on pt table

Now Ziggy is at one of PT & Me’s physical therapy clinics with one of our trusted therapists to help relieve him of all his back pain. He will be back to making more toys real soon, just in time for the holiday!

See Ziggy’s complete physical therapy experience here!

elf injuries physical therapy PTandMe   Elf on the Shelf Physical Therapy

elf injuries

Special thanks to Action Physical Therapy, in Houston, TX, for accommodating the demanding work schedule of Santa’s elves. Click Here for more information about Action Physical Therapy.