Jefferson Docs Provide Tips for Safely Digging out from Jonas

ThinkstockPhotos-462953635With an average of 20 inches of snow falling in the Philadelphia area, winter storm Jonas brought on the need for substantial snow removal. Three doctors at the Rothman Institute at Jefferson  recently spoke about the importance of safety while shoveling or snow blowing.

Dr. Joseph Abboud, an orthopedic surgeon, told, “If you’re in good shape and you exercise routinely, you’re going to be fine.”

Dr. Abboud explained the importance of technique and starting early. “You want to do this in a gradual fashion,” Abboud said, noting that it is best practice to shovel every 3-4 hours, to reduce the strain on your joints.

Dr. Craig Rubenstein a sports medicine physiscian, also emphasized the importance of technique. Dr. Rubenstein told 6abc you are less likely to get hurt if you warm up before shoveling, ease into it and use your legs. Bend your knees, do not bend from the waist, as this can strain the lower back. If possible, Dr. Rubenstein recommends pushing the snow, similar to a plow, instead of picking it up. Be careful not to throw the snow too far once you have it on your shovel. “The further your arms get away from your body, the more you use your shoulders and your rotator cuff,” Dr. Rubenstein explained.

If you a snow blower, there are safety concerns with those as well. Dr. Charles Leinberry, an orthopedic surgeon, told 6abc: “Snow blower injuries are devastating.”

Do not use your hand to remove a clog in the snow blower. Dr. Leinberry encourages people to always use a solid object, like a stick or broom or handle, to clear a clog. “The new ones even come with a small shovel,” he added.

Dr. Leinberry also shared some advice to avoid clogging all together: “What I used to do, I would spray my blades and my chute with WD-40 or some kind of silicone spray to allow [the snow] to kind of slide out.”

All docs agree, whether you are shoveling or using a snow blower, it is important to take it slow, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. While Philadelphia didn’t get many inches of snow today, these tips are great to keep in mind for the next snow day!

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