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Shovelling and Hand Injuries

shovelling and hand injury St. John's Physiotherapy

Shovelling has been unavoidable these last few weeks. While it is a necessary part of winter in Newfoundland and Labrador, it can be a risky activity. Hand and wrist injuries are especially common, and can have long-lasting effects. Luckily, there are safety measures you can take to protect yourself.

Skid-resistant gloves
Gloves and/or mittens with skid resistant material on the palm and fingers. This will allow you to have adequate grip on your shovel to prevent unnecessary slipping.

Take breaks
Break up your snow shoveling time. Take short breaks to allow your body to rest. Light stretching during breaks and drinking plenty of water will also assist in reducing your risk of injury.

Gloves that are warm, but light
If your gloves are too thick it can be difficult to have a firm grasp of your shovel. You want gloves that provide enough warmth, but it is also important that you are able to firmly grasp your shovel. It may be beneficial to also ‘break in’ new gloves to ensure your fingers move freely.

When lifting snow, avoid full shovel fulls
Lift smaller, lighter amounts of snow as opposed to large amounts at once. Avoid a situation where you lift more than a comfortable amount and strain your arms or back.

Snowblower Safety

Snowblower injuries can damage bone, soft tissue, nerves, nail beds, and tendons. The majority of snowblower injuries occur when individuals attempt to remove snow clogs with their hands, and it is typically the dominant hand that is injured.

  • If your snowblower becomes clogged, do not remove it with your hands
    No doubt a snowblower has been a lifesaver for you already this winter. One of the most important safety tips to remember is to never use your hand to remove a clog from your snowblower. Instead, you can use a broomstick, stick, or even a shovel handle to remove the clog. Even with the power off, removing a clog with your hands can result in a rapid recoil, which can cause severe finger or hand injuries. The clogged snow can stop the rotational force of the blades, so when the clog is removed, the force is released and the blades will move.
  • Turn off the snowblower and ensure blades have stopped spinning before removing any clogs
    Even if you are using an object other than your hand to remove a clog, do not attempt to do so until the blower is off and the blades have completely stopped. 
  • Always know your limits when doing any kind of snow removal. If you feel pain or unsafe at any moment, seek assistance in finishing the task.

Call us at 753-0155 for a free 15-minute consultation if hand pain persists to see how physiotherapy or laser therapy can help you!


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