Most Common Causes of Injury in the Winter

by Medical XPress

Girl falling on snowIt’s the most wonderful time of the year—but it’s not free from accidents and injuries. Though the holidays are behind us, winter is still here for a bit longer, and so is the unfortunate opportunity for winter-related accidents. Though winters here in Texas aren’t especially harsh, there are still many ways in which the winter weather can cause accidents and injuries. Keep reading to learn the most common causes of injury during the winter.

Slips and Falls

Slip-and-fall accidents can happen at any time of the year, but they’re seen much for frequently in the winter. It’s probably easy for you to guess why: Lower temperatures and the potential for snowfall can make for slippery sidewalks, ramps, and outdoor stairs. Though snow isn’t very common throughout most of Texas, temperatures do drop low enough for moisture to freeze on surfaces—especially overnight.

Any time temperatures drop, it’s important to take extra caution when out walking. Keep an eye on the surfaces you’re stepping on to look for any sign of ice. This is particularly important at night or in the early morning, when temperatures are more likely to be low enough to keep moisture frozen, or when there’s been a recent rain or snowfall.

Additionally, make sure to care for your own property’s walkways, driveways, and stairs. Keep them clear of ice and snow to help protect yourself and anyone who might walk by or come to visit.

Shoveling Snow

While not very common, snow is always a possibility in winter, especially if you live in the more northern parts of Texas. And though snow can be fun and exciting, it also means shoveling the snow off driveways and sidewalks. As we’ve already mentioned, this is important for preventing slips and falls. But, ironically, preventing those injuries can actually lead to injuries in some cases.

A national study found that there are roughly 1,000 emergency room visits every year for injuries related to snow shoveling. These injuries were most common soft-tissue injuries in the lower back region, but also included cuts and even fractures, particularly to the hands, arms, and head. So, if you have to go out and shovel snow, remember to wear footwear with good traction, put on gloves, and avoid bending and twisting with a shovelful of snow.

Car Accidents

Again, this is hardly an occurrence limited to the winter months. But, as anyone who’s driven on an icy road can tell you, winter can create incredibly dangerous road conditions. Rarely dealing with snow and ice on the road is both a blessing and curse for Texans. While it does mean this isn’t a problem we deal with regularly, it also means that we’re not exactly well equipped for dealing with it when it does occur. Many Texas drivers don’t know how to handle driving on slick roads; and, quite frankly, even knowledge and experience isn’t enough to protect you from an accident on wintery roads.

If there is snow or ice on the road, you should try to stay home if it’s at all possible. If you absolutely must go out on the roads, remember to drive slowly and carefully. Give yourself plenty of time to stop before an intersection, and leave a large following distance between you and the car in front of you.

Winter Activities

No matter where you live, winter activities are fun and exciting at this time of year. Many people who don’t live in snowy areas still choose to go to indoor ice skating rinks or to go “ice blocking” (buying large blocks of ice and sliding down a grassy hill as a substitute for sledding in winter). While these activities can be incredibly enjoyable, and you certainly shouldn’t avoid them, they can also lead to injuries. Falls and collisions during winter activities are quite common, so be sure to be safe and play smart when engaging in these activities.

We still have a couple months of winter ahead, so be sure to enjoy it to its fullest—but do so in a way that’s both fun and safe. However, if you do find yourself injured, you can stop by one of our many Texas locations for slings, braces, support boots, and other medical supplies to help you in your recovery. Feel free to call ahead to ensure that we have what you need in stock; our knowledgeable and courteous staff members are happy to assist you in finding what you need.