Here in Nebraska, there’s just no way to avoid it – every year, winter comes around. Some folks love it while others downright loathe the season and all that accompanies it. For those winter warriors out there who can’t wait for those first flakes to fall so that they can break out their favorite sporting gear, it’s important to remember that there are a few guidelines specific to winter sports to ensure all participants can remain as safe – an injury free – as possible.
Some of the most common winter sports injuries are sprains, strains, dislocations, and fractures. In fact, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 290,000 individuals were treated for winter-related sports in 2014 – 114,000 injuries from snow skiing, 79,000 injuries from snowboarding, 47,000 injuries from ice skating, and 52,000 injuries from sledding. Many times these injuries occur at the end of the day when participants are tired and ready to call it quits but just can’t help themselves from getting in one more good run before the daylight fades.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, there are some things you can do to help prevent getting injured as you partake in your favorite winter sports endeavors. For instance:
- Never participate alone in a winter sport.
- Keep in shape and condition muscles before participating in winter activities.
- Warm up thoroughly before playing or participating. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding.
- Check that equipment is working properly prior to use.
- Wear several layers of light, loose and water- and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. Wear proper footwear that provides warmth and dryness, as well as ample ankle support.
- Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating.
- Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snowboarding. Learning how to fall correctly and safely can reduce the risk of injury.
- Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature.
- Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you, or anyone with you, is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite. Make sure everyone is aware of proper procedures for getting help if injuries occur.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities.
- Avoid participating in sports when you are in pain or exhausted.
We don’t ever want to see any of our patients get injured but, unfortunately, it does sometimes happen. If you find yourself suffering from joint or muscle pain, strains, sprains, fractures, etc.source, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Rain or shine (or snow) Prairie Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery is here to help you get back on your feet.