Common Winter Sports Injuries

The excitement of winter sports is calling, and you are ready to answer. The sun, snow, fun and frolic can be too tempting to resist. Taking a moment to understand how easily injuries occur may help you avoid them and get the most out of your season.

Knees and Ankles
Downhill skiing and snowboarding can be quite a rush, but an unsteady landing can wreak havoc on your legs. An ankle sprain can be more painful and take longer to heal than an actual bone break. Tears or ruptures of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) or Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) of the knee are some of the most debilitating injuries seen in sports medicine, usually requiring surgery. Have your board bindings inspected frequently and be sure that your footwear is correctly sized and supportive.

Fingers, Hands, and Wrists
When skiing or skating, it is very easy to break your wrist or fingers. Threading your wrist through your ski pole strap could injure your wrist as well as tear the ligaments of your thumb. If you fall with the pole in your hand, you could suffer “skier’s thumb.” To prevent this, make sure your ski strap stays below the top of the pole and NOT over your wrist. Professionals in sports medicine also recommend learning how to fall properly, by falling on your side or rear and rolling rather than bracing yourself with your hands.

Lower Back
Cold weather constricts muscles and diminishes flexibility. Failing to warm up properly and overworking your body may result in serious back pain. A fall can damage vertebrae or compress the discs in your back, often requiring extensive pain management or surgery. Conditioning all year round and stretching well before beginning your wintertime workout will loosen muscles and prepare them for activity.

Head Injury
While many winter sports injuries can be treated and corrected, a head injury can be fatal. Sports medicine and neurologists recommend wearing a helmet when skiing and snowboarding to protect against concussions and skull fractures that could occur during a fall or impact.

Winter sports are a great way to stay active during colder months, but participate with common sense and caution. Do not take on more than your skill level will safely allow, and wear protective equipment when needed. Including elements of safety in your sport will ensure you can play for years to come!

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