While our thoughts may be turning towards springtime, and the promise of lighter nights and warmer weather, it’s easy to forget that we are still in the depths of winter.
At this time of year, the weather can quickly turn icy, snowy or stormy and these bouts of winter weather are often accompanied by an increase in accidents and injuries. In clinic, we see people with strains, sprains, ruptures and suspected fractures, all of which can be painful and debilitating.
It’s not always possible to avoid accidents, but there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and prevent some of the worst of the winter injuries. Here are our top five tips for keeping safe in winter weather…
1. Sweep up fallen leaves
Fallen leaves start to decay and can become very slippery in wet or icy weather. They can also hide hazards on the ground which can lead to trips and falls. Sweep up leaves to minimise the risk of accidents.
2. Be aware of black ice
Black ice can be treacherous as it is slippery and difficult to see. According to the British Medical Journal (in an article called “Epidemic of Fractures During a Period of Snow and Ice: has anything changed 33 years on”) there are twice as many fractures during icy and snowy weather compared to other periods.
Wrist and forearm fractures are the most common, consistent with slipping on the ice. Wherever possible, grit paths around your home, wear non-slip soles and take care while out and about. The best time to grit is in the evening before the frost has settled or early in the morning. It will take time for the grit to work so try to do it before you are ready to go out.
3. Stay indoors in severe weather
If you are frail or unwell it is a good idea to stay indoors in severe weather conditions, if you can. This includes freezing temperatures, snow and ice, or storms. If you can’t avoid going out, be sure to wrap up warmly, wear a waterproof coat and sturdy, non-slip shoes.
4. Don’t do strenuous exercise in cold weather
You are much more likely to injure yourself exercising when your muscles are cold. One of the most common causes of winter injury is shovelling snow off paths and driveways, particularly in people who have a bad back.
If you do need to clear snowy paths, pace yourself and don’t try and do too much. It is a good idea to do some stretches beforehand to warm up cold muscles.
5. Stick to well-lit areas
Poor lighting and black ice are a recipe for slips and falls. If you can, stick to well lit areas and be aware of the ground in front of you.
If you are unlucky enough to injure yourself, you may be able to reduce pain and swelling by using the RICE method – rest, ice, compression, elevation. You can take anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and swelling.
More serious injuries will need proper investigation as continuing to use a damaged limb may exacerbate the problem and lead to more serious damage. We offer a range of diagnostic techniques including X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, MRI scans and diagnostic arthrogram injections.
Once you have an accurate diagnosis you will be able to discuss a treatment plan with your GP or a specialist consultant. For some types of injuries you may be able to have a therapeutic injection, such as a platelet-rich plasma injection to promote natural healing. More serious injuries may require surgery or even joint replacement.
Talk to us to arrange your diagnostic tests.
DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING TESTS | MANCHESTER, WIGAN, CHESHIRE + MORE
W27 provides fast, accurate diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal symptoms and conditions using the latest state-of-the-art imaging facilities. We also offer therapeutic injections to help relieve joint pain.
For your appointment there is a choice of locations:
The John Charnley Wing, Wrightington Hospital – Hall Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan, WN6 9EP
HCA Manchester Institute of Health & Performance – 299 Alan Turing Way, Manchester, M11 3BS
Euxton Hall Hospital – Wigan Road, Euxton, Chorley, PR7 6DY
The Spire Manchester – 170 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2AF
European Scanning Centre – 10-11 Bulstrode Place, London W1U 2HX
The OrthTeam Centre Ohm Building – 168 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester, M20 2AF
Information about our Fees can be found here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options with a specialist, please contact the team to book an initial consultation.