Posted on January 09, 2019
The Holidays are over but winter hasn’t ended just yet! There is still plenty of time to hit the slopes, ice rink and even those backyard hills, but be ware of these winter injuries and how to help prevent them!
Skiing, sledding, snow boarding and ice hockey can cause a multitude of injuries from hypothermia in extremely cold conditions to concussions. We’ve put together some of the most common winter injuries and how to care for and prevent them!
Strains and Sprains: The difference between a strain and a sprain is that a Strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon. A Sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament. A strain and a sprain both tend to effect the back, leg (most commonly the hamstring, knee and ankle) as well as the wrist. The best method of treatment for these injuries is RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate. If symptoms seem to worsen or have shown no improvement it is always best to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Hypothermia: Exposure to extreme cold causes the body to take more time keeping your core temperature regulated to support your vital organs. Often taking needed blood and there for warmth away from the extremities, potentially causing hypothermia. If your skin begins to feel frozen, even if deeper tissue remains soft you may be at risk for hypothermia. Other warning signs include waxy, white or grayish skin. When participating in winter sports we are exposed to the cold for longer periods of time. Regularly check you extremities for signs of hypothermia, and wear plenty of layers to accommodate for the bodies changes in temperature easily, and don’t forget gloves, thick socks, and hats to protect your outer limbs!
Concussions: We most often think of non-winter sports as the ones that cause the most concussions, such as soccer or football, yet winter sports like ice hockey, ice skating, skiing and snowboarding can cause concussions as well. The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons defines a concussion as “when a force causes the brain to rapidly move back and forth inside the skull. This may be caused by either a direct blow or by a blow to the body that forces the head to quickly rotate.” Taking a hit from another player in a hockey game, falling on the ice, collisions on the slopes with other people or inanimate objects can all be cause for concussions. Ensure that yourself, friend and family are all wearing the proper and up to date safety gear (helmets, mouth guards), are practicing the safe rules of the sport and aren’t downplaying their symptoms to try and return to play faster. If you think that yourself or someone else may have suffered a concussion always seek medical attention.
There are only a few more months of winter, so get outside and enjoy these winter sports while they last! Practicing the best safety techniques is the best way to ensure a fun and injury free sports season!
source: American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons