Friday, February 16, 2007

Lift with the knees

Tips for preventing injury when shoveling snow ...

"When Christian Bedard drove home from work Wednesday night, he frequently winced as he looked at the people on the sidewalks and streets, thinking, "You may be my next patient."
All around, they were shoveling ice and snow in a manner that seemed almost calculated to put their shoulders and backs at risk of injury.

Bedard serves as clinical manager of the outpatient physical therapy department at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of York. Every year, he said, the hospital ends up treating people who have injured themselves shoveling snow. And the risk is still greater when the snow ends up coated with ice as it did this week, making it hard, heavy and slippery.

So what would he advise?

One of the most important things is to make sure you're quite literally on firm footing, Bedard said. Falls are dangerous in themselves, and unstable footing contributes to potentially dangerous musculo-skeletal contortions as you shovel.

So if you're digging yourself out for the morning commute, don't make do with the wingtips you're wearing. Get a pair of boots with good traction, and try to avoid standing directly on ice, Bedard advised.

His other advice: Don't be in too much of a hurry. Haste leads to many of the ergonomic errors that can turn 20 saved minutes of shoveling into weeks or years of pain.

It starts with the shovel, Bedard said. You want a long handle, so you can minimize bending over. And you don't want a scoop that holds more snow that you can safely handle.

When shoveling, Bedard said, it's not a good idea to throw snow over your shoulder, or do anything that involves twisting your spine while lifting weight.

The less movement of your spine, the better. Bedard recommends that, when you shovel, bend your knees to dig in, then straighten them to lift. Rather than twist to the side to deposit the shovel's contents, he recommends, step to the side and thrust the shovel forward, all the time keeping the weight as close to your body as possible."    (Continued via The York Daily Record)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Ergonomics of Shoveling Snow - Ergonomics

Ergonomics of Shoveling Snow

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