Preventing snow shoveling injuries


With the impending weather this winter it is always important to have a good understanding of shoveling safety and body mechanic’s to prevent injury and illness. Shoveling is a very repetitive activity and can easily result in muscle fatigue, muscle strains, spine injuries and even fractures if performing incorrectly. Shoveling is an exercise and anyone who has contraindications to physical exertion should not shovel and everyone else should take the following precautions.

  • Make sure to stay well hydrated. Again shoveling is an exercise and just as you would hydrate during a sport, you should also hydrate during shoveling.
  • Wear good shoe wear to prevent slipping/falls.
  • Take a few minutes to stretch before and after shoveling, if you are unaware of appropriate stretches you can reach out to your nearest physical therapist.
  • Take frequent rest breaks.
  • Make sure your shovel is not too long. A long shovel can increase the lever arm which will make it more challenging to lift the snow.
  • Push the snow when you are able versus lifting the snow.
  • Do not fill your shovel fully with snow to decrease the weight you are lifting.
  • Keep your back straight when shoveling and use your hips and knees to bend.
  •  Do not twist your back with a full shovel of snow, make sure to move your feet to turn your body.

    Good luck during this shoveling season and consult one of our licensed physical therapists at Vantage Sports and Rehab if you are experiencing any pain.