NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Injuries don’t just happen while playing sports, in the workplace or when there’s snow and ice. They can happen anywhere and at any time, including during the fall months.
While you may be less likely to take a tumble in September and October, Brian Taber, a physical therapist, and director of physician rehabilitation at Middlesex Health, said there’s still potential for risk of injury. These fall-time injuries are largely due to repetitive use and activities that cause you to be in postures that can lead to injury, he says.
- Doing yard work
- Cleaning up your yard can lead to injury. For example, raking and shrub trimming are repetitive activities — ones that use different movements that most people don’t make during their average day. There is also potential for heavy, repetitive lifting, and repetitive bending can lead to back injury.
- Putting away summer furniture
- No one likes saying goodbye to summer, but as you put away the lawn chairs and tables, be mindful that there is potential for heavy, repetitive lifting. Depending on where you store these items, you may even have to lift them above your head or climb on a ladder.
- Winterizing your RV or boat
- When emptying your boat or RV, you may have to reach and lift frequently, and the items might be heavy. You may also need to get into tight storage spaces, and this can lead to awkward postures.
- Closing your pool
- Closing your pool is synonymous with the end of summer. It is important to remember that pool chemicals, even in small quantities, can be heavy to carry. If you need to stoop or bend for prolonged periods of time, this can also lead to potential injury.
To prevent injuries that are a result of these fall activities, Taber says to:
- Warm up, even if it does not seem like you will be doing a rigorous activity. To warm up, you can simply perform a few stretches or take a brisk walk around your yard.
- Understand that the amount of work that can be performed is different for each person.
- Scale back on how much work you can complete at one time, especially if you are not used to performing repetitive or heavy work.
- Listen to your body. If you start to feel pain or discomfort, take a break.
- Keep yourself warm with layers of clothing, which will allow you to add or remove items based on the temperature and your activity level.
If you do get injured:
- Stop the activity that caused the injury.
- Do gentle, pain-free stretching and movement.
- Use ice. Acute injuries often respond well to ice. Do not ice your injury longer than 20 minutes at a time, and do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Wait at least 20 minutes between applications.
- See a medical provider if you experience any sharp pain, especially if that pain lasts.
- If pain continues to persist, get your injury evaluated and speak to your medical provider about getting a referral for physical therapy, which can help with both recovery and injury prevention.
For information about Middlesex Health Physical Rehabilitation, click here. Middlesex Health Physical Rehabilitation delivers customized care in hospitals, at your home or in state-of-the art outpatient facilities. Physical therapists will help you restore your physical mobility and function by decreasing pain, improving strength and range of motion, and addressing limitations in your mobility.