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The Top 5 Causes of Holiday Injuries

The holidays are a joyful time with friends and family. However, each year, thousands of people each suffer from holiday injuries due to various winter and holiday-related activities. Consider the following causes and how you can stay safe this season: 

1. Winter Sports and Activities
People commonly participate in activities such as snowboarding, ice skating, hockey, skiing, snowmobiling, and sledding during the winter months. All of these can result in injuries such as dislocations, back and neck strains, torn ligaments in the knee, ankles sprains, and fractures. Avoid sustaining a winter sports injury by:
• Watching for particularly dangerous weather conditions if participating in an outdoor activity
• Using protective equipment such as helmets and pads as needed
• Doing warm-up exercises before participating in any physical activity

2. Holiday Decorating
It might seem harmless, but holiday decorating can cause a variety of injuries. Hanging lights on the outside of your home and adorning your rooftop with holiday décor requires the use of ladders, which increases the risk for a fall. Prevent broken bones and other injuries by:
• Having someone hold the ladder while you're on it
• Checking your ladder for loose screws or broken rungs
• Ensuring that the ladder can hold your weight
• Making sure outside steps are not covered in ice, dirt, water, or anything that could make them slippery

3. Car Accidents
Driving during the holidays can be hazardous due to heavy traffic and inclement weather. Traffic accidents often result in orthopedic injuries such as broken bones, muscle strains/tears, and more. Do what you can to avoid holiday accidents by:
• Having your car serviced before your trip
• Checking the forecast before heading out
• Scheduling breaks if you're traveling a long period of time
• Practicing safe driving behavior

4. Tripping and Slipping
Winter snow and ice make for slippery steps and sidewalks, which can easily lead to an injury. When it comes to the inside of your home, extension cords from holiday decorations and lights can increase the risk for a fall. Try to avoid a fall by:
• Wearing rubber-soled footwear that gives you enough traction
• Using handrails as much as possible
• Walking slowly on pavement and trying to walk in grassy areas as much as you can

5. Alcohol-Related Incidents
The holidays are often a time when alcohol use is at an all-time high, which can increase the likelihood of falls and traffic accidents. It's essential to be mindful of how much you drink, especially if you know you will be doing something potentially dangerous such as driving. Here are a few things you can do to prevent an alcohol-related accident:
• Find a designated driver or call a driving service such as Uber or Lyft
• Find a non-alcoholic beverage to enjoy at your holiday parties
• Know your drink limit and stick to it

Happy holidays from all of us here at McLean County Orthopedics! We don't want you to be in pain this season. However, if you do suffer an injury while decking the halls or participating in winter sports, we're here for you! Our team of dedicated orthopedic specialists are here to care for your entire family's musculoskeletal needs. Contact us today at 309-663-6461 to schedule an appointment or visit us online to learn more about how we can help improve your health and your life.
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