UPMC Susquehanna – Active Winter
In Pennsylvania, especially here in the northern tier, winter presents various weather conditions such as snow, sleet, and freezing rain. These situations need special attention if we are going to enjoy winter without injury.
On this broadcast, we spoke with Physical Therapist Eric Barlett of UPMC Susquehanna, about some of the most common winter incidents such as falling on ice or snow that can lead to personal injury. Eric encouraged us to wear rubber-soled shoes with good tread or even traction aids to improve traction. He also mentioned to slow down and take shorter steps and widen your stance while sticking to paths that have been cleared or treated.
Eric also explained how winter weather could also lead to slip and fall hazards inside our homes when returning from the outside. To avoid falls once inside our homes he recommended that when we come indoors after being out in the snow, sleet, and slush, remove your shoes and place them in a designated place out of the way. Any shoe buildup of ice and snow will melt, which can create a slick surface that could lead to a slip and fall indoors. If your home has smooth floors like wood, tile or linoleum, consider wearing non-skid socks or slippers instead of stocking feet to avoid indoor slips.
The following list are some good rules to follow when shoveling snow this winter. Maintain a straight back and bend at the knees while avoiding twisting motions like turning side to side, lift and support with your legs, take breaks and hydrate, and come inside to warm up during frigid temperatures and change into dry clothing. He also suggested that if you are elderly or suffering from a physical condition to enlist the help of loved ones or hire someone for snow removal.
Eric also advised us to keep moving in the winter months in a fun, safe fashion. He suggested walking laps inside our homes or utilizing a treadmill or stationary bike. Joining a local gym, YMCA, or Parks and Rec classes all keep us active this winter.
If you have a need physically that you think a Physical Therapist could assist you in recovering from, call your doctor for the referral for you to get started to feeling better soon. You can also schedule a one-time visit with a physical therapist to discuss healthy exercise routines. He or she will be able to recommend an individually tailored exercise program you can do right in your own home to stay active safely this winter.
For more information about physical therapy, visit UPMCSusquehanna.org or call their clinic in Wellsboro at (570) 723-0675, or Mansfield at (570) 662-1900.
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