Winter is here! – bring on the skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and sledding! While these are all fun activities for winter exercise, they can also be dangerous. Common winter sports injuries include fractures, sprains, strains, concussions, and dislocations. For example, snowboarders have a greater incidence of wrist injuries, and knee injuries are more common in skiers. Most of these injuries are preventable and here are some tips to help you have an injury free winter of fun!
1. Never participate alone in a winter sport – if you should have a problem there is a buddy there to get help.
2. Always check the weather before heading out, pay attention to storm warnings or alerts. You don’t want to get caught out if a sudden snow or ice storm starts to develop.
3. Shape up – Stay in shape and condition muscles prior to participating in any sport. Core strengthening, hip strengthening, and stability training are important to help prevent ligament injuries.
4. Don’t go from 0 to 100. Warm up with light exercises and stretches prior to the activity. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are more prone to injury.
5. Protection – You must wear the appropriate protection gear for the activity, like helmets, goggles, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads.
6. Test Your Equipment – Before the season begins, check over all of your equipment and make sure it is in good working order.
7. Learn How to Fall – Shoulder, elbow, and wrist injuries can result from trying to brace for a fall. There is a “safe” way to fall to help prevent injury. Do some research or see a trainer to learn these techniques.
8. Know and Follow Safety Rules – Follow the safety rules for the sport, i.e. getting on and off the ski lift, where you are allowed to sled, thin ice warnings, etc.
9. Know your limits – Choose courses and areas that are within your ability and skill level.
10. Stop when you are tired - Accidents are far more likely to happen when you are fatigued.
11. Layer up – Wear a breathable layer, 1-2 insulating layers, and a waterproof/windproof outer layer. This will enable you to stay warm and dry longer. Wear proper footwear for warmth, dryness, and ankle support. Clothes that become damp from sweat can lower your body temperature.
12. Apply sunscreen SPF 30-50 – the ozone layer is thinner during the winter and you have less protection from the sun.
13. Stay Hydrated - As always, drink water before, during, and after the activity.
Winter sports can be a lot of fun and a wonderful break from being inside during the season of colder weather. Take some precautions and you will be able to enjoy a full injury-free season of activity. Should you sustain an injury with your outdoor activity, we are always here to evaluate and treat any bone or joint problem. No referral necessary. 515-955-6767