It’s Slippery Out There! Preventing And Treating Wintertime Injuries With Summit Orthopedics

Woman bent over holding her knee in pain on the side of a wintery road.

While curling up with a blanket and not going outside until May sounds like a bulletproof plan, the reality is that most of us will have to brave the outside now and again this winter… And that means dealing with the hazards that come along with ice and snow!

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota has one of the highest rates of fall-related deaths in the United States. In 2021, there were 71,000 hospital-treated falls in Minnesota. The most common cause of falls? Slipping or tripping.

So, how can we lower these numbers in the icy tundra of January?

“The slogan we always give people is ‘walk like a penguin,’” says Dr. Kevin Lindgren of Summit Orthopedics. “It’s a little bit wider walking base, it’s shuffling, it’s just being extra safe when you’re out walking on fresh snow or ice.” Investing in good-quality rubber-soled boots can help. If you use a cane, get a non-slip cane made for ice and snow. Dr. Lindgren says the most common types of injuries he sees due to snowy slips are broken wrists, ankle injuries, and in the older population, broken hips. He says to definitely use that sand or salt to prevent icy situations around your home.

(Pro tip, if you are a Minneapolis resident, the City of Minneapolis offers free sand for residents at a few different locations. Check their website for more information.)

Into winter sports? These account for their fair share of injuries too, particularly skiing and snowboarding.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there were 110,900 winter activity-related injuries treated in emergency rooms nationwide in 2021. The good news is we can take action to prevent these too. Make sure you are wearing all proper protective gear including helmets, gloves, goggles, and padding layers. Double check to make sure your gear is working properly before you begin. Drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks, and avoid participating alone. A fatigued body is more prone to injury, so stop when you need to.  

Shoveling the sidewalk and driveway can also add to the bill of injuries with back aches and pains and sometimes even nerve issues like bulging discs.

When shoveling, make modifications to prevent injury. First off, make sure you have the proper equipment. Summit Orthopedics recommends gloves that are made of slip-resistant material and warm but not too thick, for a better grip. Make sure your shovel is good quality and not too heavy; ergonomic shovels with two handles are on the market these days and can make things a lot safer and easier. Take smaller shovelfuls and frequent breaks, resting every 10 to 15 minutes is recommended. Dr. Lindgren reminds us that it is also so important to spend some time preparing the body for the task. “It’s stretching, trying to limber up before to make sure you’re not causing too much strain on your back, especially with heavy snow,” he says.

If you are injured and needing non-emergency care, Summit Orthopedics are a trusted local name that have been around for over 25 years providing quality orthopedic care to Minnesota and Wisconsin. They have locations in many nearby suburbs including Eagan, Lakeville, Plymouth, and a brand-new clinic in Eden Prairie opening this month.

Summit Orthopedics also has walk-in orthopedic urgent care clinics, open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week, and a plethora of specialists available for scheduling appointments ahead. They have specialists for backs, necks, spines, elbows, hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knee, shoulders, and hips, wherever the injury lies.

Recovering from a fracture or sprain can be a long process (the average fracture takes approximately six to eight weeks to heal, with some taking as long as 20) but at Summit Orthopedics, they try to make the whole ordeal as smooth as possible. Lindgren says, “We very much have a team approach to try to help people through the experience. We understand that certainly with the more significant injuries especially, there is going to be some time off work, some modifications, maybe they can’t drive right away.” And if surgery is necessary, the team at Summit Orthopedics will help you set that up as quickly as possible, so you can get back to being you.

What sets Summit apart?

 “At Summit, it’s absolutely 100 percent specialized,” Dr. Lindgren says. “That means our foot and ankle people only take care of foot and ankle, and our back specialists only take care of back.” Because of this, Lindgren says, people can trust that they are getting the highest quality of care. Summit’s values include not only quality of care and a team approach but also community, empowerment, conservative care, and prevention.

“Preventing falls is definitely the biggest thing,” Dr. Lindgren says. “Nobody plans for a fall. If we can even prevent a few falls, that’s huge.”

Further showing their care and dedication, Summit Orthopedics is proud to be a founding partner of One World Surgery, a non-profit organization that aims to bring better surgical care to underserved communities around the globe. Many Summit physicians and staff have volunteered their time and expertise to the cause in Honduras, and Summit continues to donate medical supplies and provide financial support.

If you are feeling back pain after shoveling or a strained wrist after a sidewalk slip, give Summit Orthopedics a call, and rest easy knowing you will be in great hands. 

Says Dr. Lindgren, “We’re here to help. If you have a question, if something’s happened, don’t hesitate.”

Summit Orthopedics
General Appointment Line: (651) 968-5201
Orthopedic Urgent Care: (651) 968-5806
General Questions and Information: (651) 968-5200
www.summitortho.com

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