By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Injuries related to the winter weather are starting to mount as doctors are seeing a spike in strained muscles from shoveling snow and broken bones from slippery surfaces. Even though the sun was out today, the dangers will linger along with the freezing temperatures.

Snow is piled up everywhere in Manayunk, it’s tricky getting around and can be treacherous.

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“I sprained a lot of ligaments,” Scott Valetti said.

Valetti says his driveway in Phonexville is cleared now, but shoveling it was an ordeal.

“I might have lasted 5 minutes out there with the snow and I heard a little pop in my back and I couldn’t stand up straight,” he said. “I had trouble walking back into the house.”

Doctors say strained backs are a common injury linked to shoveling heavy wet snow.

“On a scale from one to 10, probably a 10, yeah, it’s pretty painful,” Valetti said.

In Lower Pottsgrove, a 16-year-old girl suffered a serious back injury sledding, when she smashed into a tree stump.

“Going down a hill that was quite steep,” the teen said

Doctors say most winter weather injuries come from shoveling snow and falls on slippery surfaces.

“Back injuries are quite common,” said Dr. Marc Harwood with Rothman Orthopaedic. “Shoulder, elbow, upper extremity injures are also common.”

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Harwood says people need to take extra precautions in the snow and ice and be prepared for shoveling.

“The best thing that you can do is stretch beforehand and treat it like a workout, treat it like any other workout,” Harwood said. “Make sure you’re well hydrated, make sure you take frequent breaks.”

After shoveling, anti-inflammatories and ice can help reduce shoveling aches and pains.

“It’s a pain,” Valetti said.

Doctors say heart attacks are the most dangerous injury related to shoveling snow and a risk, especially for people who are out of shape or elderly.

The snow that will be sticking around will be re-freezing and especially hard to move.


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Stephanie Stahl