How to Prevent Injuries this Holiday Season

December 7th, 2021

There’s so much going on during the holiday season and a lot of winter activities to get involved with. However, it’s also a common time for injuries to occur. With all the hustle and bustle of travel, out of town guests, shopping, and decorating - the last thing you need to deal with is an aching back or a trip to urgent care. Check out some of the most common injuries that occur around the holidays, plus some tips on how to prevent and treat them. 


Preventing Falls

One of the most obvious injuries comes from falls. Draping lights across the roof or hanging wreaths on windows can mean putting weight on wobbly ladders or unstable chairs and objects around the home. There are also cords and floor decorations that you may not be used to that can be tripped over.

  • Avoid overreaching. Reaching high areas to hang decorations will put you at risk of falling. If you’re unable to access a point, get a larger ladder or ask someone for help.

  • Don’t use furniture such as sofas or tables to hang decorations. Make sure you use a ladder.

  • When using a ladder, make sure it’s stable and secured. Never set a ladder on an uneven surface. Always have someone spot you; do not do it alone.

  • Secure all cables and wires down so that they don’t pose a threat for tripping.


Avoiding Back Injuries

Holiday time means family time, and whether you’re traveling or welcoming out of town guests, there’s usually a lot of luggage that goes with it. Neck, back, and shoulder injuries can occur from lifting a suitcase - or a box of decorations, or those big holiday gifts. Follow a few rules of thumb for lifting heavy objects to avoid back pain that can put you out of commission for this year’s festivities.

  • To lift luggage, stand next to it, bend at the knees, and lift with your leg muscles while engaging your core. Don’t twist your body with something heavy in your hands or arms.

  • When carrying boxes or smaller items, hold them with both of your hands closely to your body. This will reduce stress on the spine, as well as the elbow.

  • If you’re carrying luggage with a strap, switch sides of the body often to avoid overstraining one. With a backpack, ensure both straps are over your shoulders and are tightened to an appropriate length.

  • Take your time walking with heavy objects.


Ice Skating Safely

There’s nothing better than a festive night spent on the ice rink, but ice skating isn’t as simple as the pros make it seem. Most injuries are just bumps and bruises from falls, but doctors see many fractures, broken bones, ligament tears, and other serious injuries. These tips can help you stay safe on the ice this season.

  • Make sure your skates fit properly. Ill-fitting skates are dangerous, can make you clumsy, and lead to falls. Tie them tightly and ensure they are secured before getting out there.

  • It seems like a fun leisurely event, but ice skating is actually quite an aerobic activity. Treat it like the exercise it is by warming up and doing full body stretching 10-15 minutes beforehand, with an adequate cool down as well. You may also not realize that you end up using many muscles in your body as you ice skate, so make sure you’re doing full body stretches. 

  • Wear any necessary padding. Protective equipment such as knee and elbow pads can keep you from shattering a bone if you fall on the hard ice. 

  • Stay in control. Skating faster than you can handle can lead to painful falls or collisions with others. Move at a normal pace and be sure to look out for others.


Beware of Icy Surfaces 

We’re out and about a lot during the holiday season, between festive shows, holiday shopping, and visits with friends and families. This leaves us unfamiliar to areas where water can pool and freeze when temps get low. 

  • Always be aware of your surroundings. The hustle and bustle of the season means everyone is rushing around, but do your best to take your time, especially when it’s dark.

  • Wear boots with good tread. Freezing temps mean ice can be lingering anywhere, but you’re more susceptible to falling in shoes that don’t have tread on the bottom. Winter boots designed for sleet and snow are your best bet.  

If you do get into a situation where you suffer from an injury, you may want to try to deal with non-threatening sprains or strains in the comfort of your own home. Urgent care centers and emergency rooms have a tendency to get crowded due to cold and flu season and holiday-related injuries, so practice the PRICE method first - (protect, rest, ice, compression, and elevation.) If your injury is more serious and painful, don’t hesitate to seek help immediately. A physician can treat your injury and help manage the pain so you don’t have to suffer through your holiday.

Rothman Orthopaedics is here for all of your holiday falls, slips, trips, and pain this season, with an urgent care center in your area and many experienced orthopaedic physicians. Click here to set up an appointment today


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