Preparing for the Next Snow Storm? Professional Physical Therapy Offers Tips to Reduce Likelihood of Injury While Shoveling Snow

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Whether you're a homeowner, maintenance worker, or a friend helping a neighbor out, shoveling snow may be the most physically challenging exercise many people face during the year.

By following these tips, injuries are more likely to be prevented while shoveling snow!

Multi-award winning Professional Physical Therapy (“Professional”), one of the largest full-service, physical therapy companies in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, offers safety tips before and during the exhausting task of shoveling snow. With 40 locations in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Westchester, Rockland, and New Jersey, Professional provides injury rehabilitation, pre- and post-operative treatment plans, and injury prevention programs.

Whether you're a homeowner, maintenance worker, or a friend helping a neighbor out, shoveling snow may be the most physically challenging exercise many people face during the year.

“While regular exercise and strengthening your legs and core before winter arrives is highly recommended, following the tips below can help reduce the likelihood of injury while shoveling snow,” said Jeff Yellin, Regional Clinical Director at Professional.

Immediately before shoveling:

  • Stretch muscles to warm and loosen them to prevent strains and tears.
  • Warm up legs with slight knee bends that will prepare the lower half of your body for strenuous activity.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine. Each causes damaging effects on the heart and, paired with physical activity, could cause long-lasting injury or health complications.

During shoveling:

  • Do not simultaneously twist and bend your body while shoveling. Keep your back straight and only move snow directly in front of you to avoid straining muscles.
  • Bend at the knees, instead of at the back.
  • Cut into the snow in front of you to separate a piece.
  • Slide the shovel under the piece of snow.
  • To lift the snow, keep a bend to the knees, and keep your abs tight with a slight arch in your back.
  • Walk the snow to where you want to place it. Do not twist your body and toss the snow.
  • Take frequent breaks to allow your body to cool down.
  • Stay loose by doing small, supported back bends. Place hands on your lower back and slowly lean backward until feeling a small stretch.
  • Keep hydrated with non-caffeinated beverages. Water is the best choice.

Watch Professional’s Partner and VP of Clinical Operations Tony D'Angelo on PIX-11's Winterizing Your Back (, including tips for preventing injury when shoveling snow.

After shoveling snow or other strenuous activities, you may experience some soreness. If your soreness lasts more than 48 hours, you may have an injury and should consult a physical therapist or other medical professional. Professional’s physical therapists can treat shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, neck, back, hip, knee, ankle, and foot injuries, regardless of their origin. For the Professional Physical Therapy location nearest you, visit or call 1-800-333-MYPT.

For more information about Professional Physical Therapy, please contact Lisa-Michelle Kucharz at lkucharz(at)professionalpt(dot)com or 1-516-321-2446.

Professional Physical Therapy (“Professional”), headquartered in Uniondale, New York, is a leading provider of physical therapy and rehabilitation services in the New York metropolitan area and New Jersey. Founded in 1998, Professional now operates 40 outpatient physical therapy centers: 11 located within Equinox Fitness Centers, four located in Blink facilities, one located in a Velocity Sports Performance Center, and 24 standalone. The company’s outpatient physical therapy centers provide treatment to patients suffering from musculoskeletal impairments associated with accidents, sports injuries, and other medical conditions. Additionally, Professional operates a 20,000 square foot sports performance training facility in Garden City, New York.

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Eva Brandl
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Professional Physical Therapy
since: 01/2011
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