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During winter, people engage in various outdoor activities, such as skiing and snowboarding, which are enjoyable, while others like shoveling snow can be quite tedious. However, these activities can cause immense stress on the shoulders, leading to pain and injuries. To help you navigate the winter months without experiencing shoulder pain, we have put together a list of common winter activities that can lead to shoulder injuries, as well as ways to prevent and manage them.

Skiing and snowboarding require frequent arm and shoulder movement, as well as upper body twisting and turning. When snowboarding, you may also experience shoulder strain and inflammation, especially in the rotator cuff muscles and tendons when getting up from a seated position after taking the chair lift. To avoid shoulder pain while skiing or snowboarding, it’s crucial to perform a proper warm-up before hitting the slopes. You can do exercises like shoulder rotations, arm circles, and shoulder blade squeezes to loosen up the muscles and tendons. Additionally, dressing appropriately for the activity and monitoring your energy levels can help prevent injuries on the mountain.

Shoveling snow is another winter activity that can stress the shoulders, particularly when shoveling heavy and wet snow or using improper form. To avoid shoulder pain while shoveling, you should use your legs to push the snow instead of solely relying on your arms and shoulders. Using an ergonomic shovel with a curved handle can also help reduce the strain on your shoulders. If you already have a shoulder injury, it may be wise to consider hiring someone to shovel snow for you, rather than risking further injury.

One of the most common causes of any winter injury is slips and falls. Keeping your walkway and driveway as clear of snow and ice as possible is important (ask somebody for help if you’re prone to shoulder injuries). It’s also helpful to wear proper footwear that is meant for snow and ice. Finally, give yourself a little extra time to get where you’re going. Arriving early to appointments or work so you don’t need to run through a slushy parking lot could save you from a nasty shoulder injury!

One final winter activity to be mindful of if you want to avoid shoulder injuries isn’t an activity at all–we often become more sedentary when the weather gets cold. This lack of activity and more time spent doing things like watching television, playing video games, knitting, or scrolling on our phones can also lead to shoulder pain. Sitting in the same position for a long time, poor posture, and repetitive movements can lead to muscle tension and pain in the shoulders. To prevent these, get up and move around frequently, take breaks, and try to maintain good posture.

Avoiding Winter Shoulder Pain and Injury

Winter is a great time for many fun activities and inactivity can also lead to shoulder pain and injury. So don’t wait until spring to get outside. Taking appropriate steps like warming up before any more vigorous sports or shoveling snow, resting when you’re tired, wearing good winter boots, keeping walkways show and ice-free and taking your time to get around will ensure you enjoy the snow without being sidelined by a shoulder injury.

If you do experience shoulder pain, exercise and stretching can give you some relief. If your pain is ongoing or impacting your ability to enjoy your daily life, South Orange Rehabilitation and Wellness has the know-how and experience to help you. Contact one of our professionals today.