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Most Common Environments and for Winter Injuries Explained by Denver Physical Therapy

December 26, 2018

Cold temperatures and snow do not stop anyone in Colorado from enjoying fun activities. There is so much to do during the winter with something for everyone. As with the summer, injuries can happen when you are not careful. The number of injuries that occur in the winter is almost double of summer, making it crucial to be prepared and aware. This doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors for a few months! With care, you can treat or avoid injuries, so they do not become an ongoing issue. Explore some of the top environments and injuries experienced during the winter and how Denver physical therapy can help. 


Ice, excess water and slippery condition increase chances for workplace injuries. They are especially common in entrances and exits due to water being tracked in by employees and customers. Intense falls can cause a person to break a bone. Or worse, if a person has a hard blow to the head, it can lead to a concussion or worse. Reduce the risks of falls by installing mats in entrances and exits when there are additional slippery areas, post signage that makes people aware. For delivery drivers or others on the road, the chances of an accident increase. By following these five ways to avoid getting into an accident this winter, employees can reduce the chances of crashing. 

Exercising Outside

For those that love to run or exercise outdoors, keeping warm is vital. Winter and breathing cold air can intensify certain health conditions such as asthma. If running or other exercises outdoors, use thermal underclothing to keep warm. Also, use a hat, earmuffs, gloves, and a facemask to protect yourself. Also, cold weather can also intensify existing injuries, such as back or hip pain. If you find yourself struggling with this issue during the winter, have a conversation with your local physical therapist on best practices.  

Outdoor Events and Activities

For many, exercising outdoors is not their activity of choice. However, Denver is full of fun activities during the winter. From shopping along the 16th Street Mall or exploring holiday lights, there is much to do. Staying bundled up is critical. Just as with outdoor exercise, cold temperatures can make existing injuries worse. To avoid slips and falls, be sure to wear proper shoes during your outdoor explorations. Waterproof, non-slip boots reduce changes of slipping as there are several areas with water and ice. 

Hiking and Camping

When prepared, winter hiking and camping can be fun and beautiful. You must know how to dress for winter camping before your trip. Hypothermia and frostbite can happen quickly when not prepared. You should also map out your path in advance to avoid getting lost. Even those that are ready can run into serious problems when getting lost. It can take 30 minutes or less when temperatures are low for frostbite and hypothermia to occur. 

Ice Skating

Denver is filled with beautiful ice skating rinks for the whole family to enjoy. Often, ice skating is an activity people only do one season out of the year. If you have not skated in a while, make sure you take it slow to get your bearings. Otherwise, you could sustain an injury that becomes problematic for years to come. Some of the most common ice skating injuries include: 
  • Sprained or broken wrists and ankles
  • Twisted knee or torn ACLs
  • Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
  • Head injuries

Skiing and Cross-Country Skiing 

Colorado is known for skiing. Before you start skiing, make sure you stretch and warm up your muscles. Warm-ups will help you reduce your risk of an injury on the slopes. Some common exercises to perform include: 
  • Rotating: Moving your hips and arms will loosen up and get them ready
  • Side steps: Bend your knees slightly and step side to side for a few movements
  • Squatting: Skiing keeps you in a hunched position, so warm up by doing a series of squats

This will help you avoid some of skiing’s most common injuries. ACL tears are one of the most popular types of ski injuries. Make sure you practice jumps and going side to side to get warmed up, even if you are an avid skier. Proper form is also crucial. Perfect your skills by seeing a local physical therapist. They will be able to help you train for successful skiing adventures and explain winter ski tips and benefits of physical therapy in Denver

Ice Climbing

If you enjoy ice climbing, Colorado has many options. This can be a dangerous activity, but with caution and preparation, it is a lot of fun. In fact, Denver is set to host the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation’s World Cup finals in February 2019. If you would like to try out this activity, trust the skills of an expert. There are businesses and excursions available to ensure your safety. Falling is one of the primary ways a person can become injured, as well as cuts and scrapes. Ice climbing also requires you to be able to pick up your weight, so be sure you practice strength training with a physical therapist to prepare. 

Outdoor Maintenance

For many, outdoor activities and exercising isn’t their thing. However, most people do have to practice winter maintenance outside their home. Shoveling snow is one of the most common causes of injuries. Improper lifting techniques can cause back strains and pain. Invest in an ergonomic shovel and have a conversation with your physical therapist on best practices. 

No matter what you do this winter, Cherry Creek Wellness Center is here to help you through any of your winter injuries. From preventing injuries to recovering from them, we will help you every step of the way. Set up an appointment today by calling 303-333-3493. Our team will assess any injuries and create your customized plan for recover—or help you develop the skills you need to prevent them. Even if you feel you are a professional at your craft, there is always room for improvement.