Red snow shovel pushing snow

Prevent Snow Shoveling Injuries with These Tips

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by UVM Health Network - CVMC

With an abundance of snow on the ground and a long winter still ahead of us, it is important to remember some tips to reduce our risk for injury with shoveling. Snow shoveling is repetitive and can be a strenuous activity depending on the type of snow and each individual’s fitness level and health.

Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Bend your knees and hips while keeping your back relatively straight.
  2. Stand with your feet wide apart and one foot in front of the other to allow more motion to occur at your knees and hips verses the back.
  3. Keep the weight close to your body and lift smaller amounts of snow to reduce the strain on the spine.
  4. Point your shoulders and hips in the direction you are throwing the snow to reduce the rotation in the spine.
  5. Choose the right equipment for you such as a shovel with a long enough handle that you do not need to bend in the back as much. Snow shovels may need to come up to chest height to reduce the forward bend required.
  6. Warm-up prior to shoveling such as doing some walking, squats, or stairs.
  7. Take frequent breaks while shoveling based on your fatigue and body condition. Stand up frequently and reverse the posture of shoveling.

Depending on your body, weather, and snow conditions know when you need to ask for help or find someone else to do the shoveling. One injury can lead to difficulty or an inability to shovel for the rest of the season...or worse, missing out on all of the fun winter activities that the snow brings.