Winter Safety Tips from PHSC

From slips on the ice to mishaps with a shovel or snow blower, the physicians of Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center see an increase in patients with hand, wrist, arm, elbow and shoulder injuries during the winter. Luckily, there are precautions you can take to prevent these injuries.

Ice and Snow

If you must venture out on an icy path, be extra cautious to avoid slips and falls. Pretreat paths and steps with salt and always use a handrail when walking down steps, especially when they may be icy. Also, be very careful when shoveling snow. Various injuries to hands, wrist, arms, elbows and shoulders like strains and tears can be caused by shoveling heavy, wet snow or using a repetitive motion to chip away ice on your driveaway or sidewalk. Shovel small, less heavy areas of snow and take frequent breaks to avoid injury.

Snow Blowers

A snow blower can cause devastating injuries to the hand and arm. To prevent these injuries, it is important to understand how your snow blower works. Read the manual and familiarize yourself with the parts of your snow blower. Most injuries are caused when the blades get clogged with wet, heavy snow.

person pushing snow blower
Remember these tips if your snow blower gets clogged:

  • Turn the engine OFF
  • Disengage the clutch
  • Wait for all blades to stop moving
  • Never unclog the blades with your hands. Always use a declogging tool, a broom handle or stick

Try these tips to keep your snow blower from clogging:

  • Spray the blades and chute with cooking oil
  • Plow multiple times if the snow is expected to be deep and/or heavy.

Winter is a wonderful time of year. Enjoy all the season has to offer. And remember, if you
experience any type of injury to your hands, wrists, arms, elbows or shoulders, call the experts
at Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center at 1-800-385-PHSC (7472) or visit Hand2Shoulder- to learn more.

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