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Is Your Pet’s Leash Causing Your Shoulder or Knee Pain? 3 Tips to Avoid Dog Walking Injuries!

March 29, 2021
Pet Leash Injuries

Statistics show an alarming increase in dog walking injuries, especially in women. In the last 13 years, we’ve seen a rise of 150%! Your hip, shoulder, low back, knee, or wrist pain may be caused by the way you walk your dog on its leash. And, dog pulling injuries are often serious enough to merit a trip to an orthopedic urgent care, like DOC. 

One study of government data on ER visits found that the most common dog walking injury is hip fractures caused by trips and falls. Broken wrists and elbows are also frequently seen, as well as rotator cuff tears and shoulder dislocations. When it comes to chronic issues, shepherd’s strain affecting the shoulder is often treated by orthopedic specialists, as well as overuse injuries of the elbows, wrists, and fingers. Chronic knee and ankle pain is often associated with the lack of proper footwear during your outdoor excursions with your pooch.

Experts aren’t suggesting you stop enjoying walks with your dog, as pet ownership brings joy and activity that benefits our wellbeing. What our orthopedic doctors do recommend, however, is taking steps to avoid these common dog walking injuries.


3 Tips to Avoid Dog Walking Injuries


1.       Train Your Dog to Walk Beside You and Not Pull

Injuries from walking a dog that is pulling against you are the most common. Obviously, a dog that pulls you down results in immediate injury. However, persistent shoulder, low back, knee, and hip pain may be due to that constant leash tugging.

A dog straining against a tight leash isn’t good for the dog, and it isn’t good for your body. Take steps to train your dog to walk gently beside you on a loose leash. There is also equipment for sale that encourages your dog to mind his manners on the leash.


2.       Choose the Right Leash, and Hold It Properly

Retractable leashes can allow too much length for dog walking. And, if the dog chases after something, the results can be disastrous for the owner. On the other hand, leashes that are too short don’t provide enough length, and the dog is constantly straining against it. Choose the right length for you and the size of your dog. When holding the leash, never wrap it around your wrist.


3.       Focus While Walking Your Dog

When walking your dog, focus on enjoying the task at hand. Distractions, such as walking your dog while using a mobile phone, leave you more injury prone. As you walk, pay attention to your surroundings to keep you safe and notice any potential situations that may cause your dog to pull. For example, if another dog is approaching or your dog sees a cat, be prepared to stop and stand your ground. A well-trained dog can even be taught to respond to a verbal command to leave it, so it won’t go after the distraction.


What to Do About Injuries From Walking Your Dog

Whether the injury is acute or chronic, see an orthopedic specialist. Early treatment is key to a healthy recovery. The orthopedic doctors at Direct Orthopedic Care (DOC) have state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment methods to ensure accurate diagnosis and care of your musculoskeletal injury.  Injuries to your neck, shoulder, back, arms, hands, knees, and ankles can be caused from strolling with your best canine friend.

DOC is available 7 days a week for immediate orthopedic treatment for sudden dog-walking injuries including sprains, strains, and fractures. We also specialize in persistent pain from chronic issues as well.


When to See An Orthopedic Doctor For Dog Walking Injuries

Perhaps you have chronic shoulder or other pain that you’re just now associating with dog walking. It’s not too late to be evaluated by an orthopedic doctor for a proper diagnosis. In fact, the sooner, the better. You should see an orthopedic specialist for persistent musculoskeletal pain lasting longer than than a few weeks that interferes with your daily activities. This is especially true if you experience any type of joint instability and / or limited range of motion.

If you’re out walking your dog and suffer an injury, seek immediate orthopedic care if any of the following apply to your mishap:

  • There is significant pain or swelling.
  • It hurts when you touch the injured area, or it hurts when you move the area.
  • You have an obvious deformity, and/or you don’t have full range of motion.
  • Seek orthopedic care as long as your injuries are not life threatening.

Turn to the Experts at DOC for Orthopedic Urgent Care or Treatment for Chronic Dog-Walking Injuries


If you suspect your pain is caused by walking your dog or you are injured while walking your dog, visit our outstanding orthopedic physicians and pain management specialists at DOC for skilled diagnosis and treatment. Our convenient hours mean we’re available when you need us any day of the week! For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us today at 855-921-0799. For more information on the cost of care, click here.

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