Holiday Health Tips inspired by Buddy the Elf

Originally published in the Williamson Herald

You have to be a cotton-headed ninny muggins to not love the Christmas movie “Elf.” To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the beloved holiday film, Dr. Christopher Stark, orthopaedic surgeon at Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, offers holiday health and safety tips inspired by Buddy himself.

“I thought maybe we could make gingerbread houses and eat cookie dough and go ice skating, and — maybe even hold hands,” – Buddy the Elf

Whether you’re going ice skating like Buddy, wrapping presents or coordinating family gatherings, the holidays are filled with activities. These added distractions create more opportunities for potential injury. Dr. Stark recommends using caution when lifting heavy boxes and removing obstacles in high-traffic areas around the house.

“If grandma is visiting, remove any boxes or other items from the stairs to create a clear path,” said Dr. Stark. “Make sure to hide excess cords underneath rugs to prevent tripping.”

“Son of a Nutcracker!” – Buddy the Elf

Although we all hope for a white Christmas, inclement weather can be dangerous without the proper precautions. 

“When ice comes, we’ll see as many as 20 hip fractures in the course of two days,” said Dr. Stark. “It’s important to take steps to prepare your home and yard ahead of time, prepping surfaces that could become slick.”

Dr. Stark also advises people to slow down while driving, watch for black ice and make sure to clear your windshield so that your visibility is not impaired.

“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.” – Buddy the Elf

Between abundance of holiday treats, lack of sunlight and long to-do lists, we generally lose a lot of fitness around the holidays. Dr. Stark encourages people to stay active by getting at least 20 minutes of exercise per day – even a brisk walk can help maintain a healthy fitness level amid the festivities. 

“Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad!” – Mr. Narwhal

You may not be making the trek from the North Pole like Buddy, but increased traveling this time of year can take a toll on the body. 

“Sleeping on planes or riding in buses can be awkward or painful,” said Dr. Stark. “It’s important to be aware of your body when traveling and incorporate stretching into your daily routine.”

“I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite!” – Buddy the Elf

Overall, the holidays can be stressful, so it’s important to take time for yourself to avoid injury. 

“Stress from getting the right gift to worrying about cooking to entertaining guests impacts us more than we realize,” said Dr. Stark. “I encourage meditation or rest, a little less obligation, simplifying and taking time to remember the reason for the season.”

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” – Buddy the Elf

“We want you to be able to spread Christmas cheer this holiday season so if you do experience an orthopaedic injury of any kind, do not hesitate to visit the providers at Bone and Joint Institute. If an injury is caught early, even if it’s not severe, recovery is quicker and easier the sooner you start a rehabilitation plan”, said Dr. Stark. 

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