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Hand and upper extremity specialist Kermit Muhammad, M.D., is offering local residents expert winter safety guidelines for all ages. Due to the hazardous conditions winter brings, injuries to the hand and upper extremity are common, from falling on the ice to getting cut opening a gift box. Dr. Muhammad’s recommendations can help adults and families avoid many seasonal pitfalls this year. Those in need of hand, elbow or wrist care can call (815) 928-8050 to be seen by Dr. Muhammad in Bradley at 400 S. Kennedy Drive, Suite 100. 

“With inclement weather and the bustle of the holidays, winter can add a lot of risk to daily life, including the risk for hand, arm and wrist injuries from falls and other accidents,” says Dr. Kermit Muhammad, fellowship-trained, board-certified hand surgeon at OAK Orthopedics. “But staying cheerful and healthy throughout the season can be easy when taking a few precautions and sticking to some simple safety guidelines.” 

Keep these tips in mind when decorating and un-decorating for the holidays:

  • Always use a ladder or step stool to hang decorations and read and follow the label on the ladder or stool. Make sure it is placed on level ground, do not overreach and ask for help when moving heavy or awkward items.
  • Keep pathways clear of decorations, boxes and other items that you could trip on.
  • When cutting paper to gift wrap or when opening packages, avoid using kitchen knives, pens, or other improper sharp objects. Use a safety blade when opening boxes. Also, always cut away from yourself and keep sharp objects away from children.

Stay cautious when dealing with snow and ice and be sure to:

  • Wear proper footwear and look in front of you. Try to fall on your side or buttocks if you find yourself falling, turning as you fall and keeping your arms and legs bent.
  • Never stick your hands in a snow blower. Stop the engine and wait more than five seconds if the machine stops blowing snow properly. Use a solid object to clear the chute, and watch out for recoil when restarting.

When sledding, skiing, snowboarding or doing other outdoor winter activities, remember the following:

  • Do light warm-up exercises for a few minutes before heading out, even to shovel snow. Take frequent breaks and get plenty of fluids.
  • When playing outside, have everyone wear appropriate protective gear, such as goggles and a helmet, and plenty of layers for warmth and protection.
  • Make sure any equipment is in good shape and used properly, and learn how to fall correctly to reduce injury risk.

“Indoors or outdoors, accidents can happen anywhere and anytime throughout the season,” says Dr. Muhammad. “Seek medical attention immediately if you or anyone with you has had an injury from a fall or has sustained a cut that does not stop bleeding after putting pressure on it for 15 minutes.”

Specializing in injuries, conditions and treatments of the hand, wrist and elbow, Dr. Muhammad joined OAK Orthopedics in 2005. He is board-certified in orthopedic surgery by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and possesses a Certificate of Added Qualification in hand surgery. Dr. Muhammad currently sees patients at the practice's Bradley office and has a blog that is frequently updated with tips and tricks to prevent and address common hand, wrist and elbow injuries and conditions. Please visit his blog for more information.

To learn more about wintertime injuries or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Muhammad, please call (815) 928-8050 or request an appointment online.