Now that the holiday season is behind us and a new year is here, now is
the perfect time to focus on keeping yourself healthy and happy. For some,
a chronic injury could have them spending more time indoors, while others
could be hitting the slopes without proper prevention, ultimately putting
them at risk for an injury. No matter what your current situation is,
the below tips can ensure you have a safe and more active winter:
Protecting Your Joints and Bones This Winter
Joint Prevention Tips
If you are already living with joint inflammation and
pain, the cold winter weather can often leave us spending more days indoors
due to further flare-ups. Moving your daily activities inside can reduce
your chance of pain, it does not mean you have to stay locked indoors
throughout the winter months. Here are a few ways to still enjoy your
favorite cold-weather activities.
Prepare for the weather ahead: Before going outdoors, bundle up and check that all of your gear is in
top shape. Worn-out clothing or equipment that doesn’t fit properly
will make you more prone to an injury when out in the elements. Most importantly,
listen to your body. If you wake up having a bad day or are already stiff
before you make it outdoors, you’ll want to take the extra time
to warm up and start slow. If the aching is making it hard to even get
out of bed, it’s best to skip the day altogether.
Warm-up and practice your form: No matter what your activity is, a proper warm-up should never be ignored.
Cold, stiff muscles will be more prone to an injury. By stretching them
before you go full-force into your routine, you are doing your part to
prevent yourself from doing unnecessary damage. If it’s your first
time practicing a winter sport, like skiing or snowboarding, it might
be best to take lessons. A professional instructor can provide you with
safety tips, teach you the proper form, and show you how to brace yourself
in case a fall does occur. All of this will start you off on the road
Never go alone: Lastly, going out on a
winter adventure alone could leave you in a dangerous situation. In the case of an emergency
or accident, having someone with you will keep you safe from being stranded
on the slopes with a twisted ankle by yourself.
For more on ways to prevent winter joint pain without having to stay indoors, read
Four Ways to Prevent Winter Joint Pain.
Further Protecting Yourself During Winter Activities
Now you might already be a pro at skiing, hiking, or hunting, but are you
taking the time to make sure you give your body the tools it needs to
do a task without the extra stress? Even the most seasoned skier will
fall at times, making it essential to always wear proper gear and fall
with ease. Don’t forget to:
- Listen to your body and don’t push yourself when pain or fatigue kick in.
- Layer up to avoid wind burn or frostbite.
- Wear proper footwear and moisture-wicking socks.
- Double-check that your helmet is always the appropriate fit.
Avoid Slips or Falls
Another common winter occurrence that has many indoors for weeks on end
is a slip or a fall. Between the mounds of snow and the hidden black ice,
even two steps outside can have you off your feet and on the ground in
no time. On those colder-than-average days, when you are venturing out
past the ice and snow, remember to:
- Wear the right slip-proof shoes.
- Walk slowly and carefully in case black ice is present.
- Shovel snow by bending at your knees, never your back.
- Be sure to never overload your shovel with heavy snow.
- Walk flat-footed and slow, avoiding steps and curbs when possible.
Keep yourself safe from a slip and fall this winter by reading more tips in our
Avoiding Slipping and Falling This Winter blog.
Getting Better Treatment When Injured
Now, if you are suffering from a recurring injury or find yourself with
a sudden new one, speaking to your doctor about the pain you feel you
might seem like a simple task. Still, often the words you use and how
you talk to your doctor about the impact the injury has made in your life
could make a significant difference in the type of treatment you receive.
Being as descriptive as possible is the best way to get to the source
of your issue. For some, keeping a diary can help with recall and allow
for your doctor to see patterns of when your pain occurs. Remember to:
- Use descriptive words of where and how the pain feels.
- List when the pain sets in and what you were doing before it did.
- Keep track of how long it lasts and if it moves.
- Detail how it alters your day-to-day activities.
Some may even ask you to describe your pain on a one to ten scale. If you
are unsure of what they are looking for at each number, talk to your doctor
so you can give the most accurate answer possible. Overall, your doctor
will be looking at your face and your reaction for signs of extreme pain.
Read on »
The Importance of Describing Your Pain
No matter your skill level, proper precautions should always be taken in
the winter months so that you can have a safe, active, and healthy season.
If an injury does occur or constant pain is altering your daily life,
Powder River Orthopedics & Spine (PROS) is here to help in Gillette, Wyoming. We can evaluate your options
so you can rest assured that you get the best possible outcome and are
back to a happy and active life in no time.
Call the PROS at 307.686.1413 or visit
www.cchwyo.org/PROS to learn more.