Winter Sports Injuries

Winter Sports Injuries

Let’s face it: Those of us who live in the Deep South don’t have many opportunities to hone our winter sports skills. When we do have the chance to ski, snowboard, ice skate, or just hang out in the snow and ice, we take advantage of the opportunity.

Of course, being less accustomed to the snow – and the sports that go along with it – may make us more likely to sustain injuries. That’s why it’s so important that we wear appropriate protective gear and warm up a little longer than usual before getting out there. You should also be sure to watch for these common winter sports injuries:

Dislocated shoulder
Because your shoulders are more mobile than other joints, they’re more unstable. That means hitting a hard surface like ice could easily dislocate your shoulder and result in additional injuries to the nearby ligaments or muscles. This type of injury is most common among ice skaters and hockey players but can also result from a fall on tightly packed snow while skiing or snowboarding.

Spinal injury
A sprain or strain in the ligaments or muscles is painful and can keep you off your feet for weeks. A fracture or dislocation, on the other hand, could damage the spinal cord and lead to either partial or full paralysis. Spinal injuries are most common in skiing, snowboarding, and other high-intensity sports.

Dislocated or broken elbow
Elbow injuries are more common in summer sports like baseball and tennis, but winter athletes suffer from them too—particularly when attempting to break a fall or keep from crashing into something. And if the impact is severe enough, you could end up
with a fracture in the upper or lower arm near the elbow or even suffer a dislocated elbow.

Skier’s thumb
Skiing is the only winter sport in which you’re regularly using your hands and wrists, making these sensitive areas of the body more prone to injury than they would be if you were skating or sledding. In fact, the most common winter sport hand injury – a torn ligament in the thumb – is known as skier’s thumb. It usually occurs when a skier falls and bends his or her hand back to keep a grip on the ski pole, tearing ligaments in the thumb joint.

Knee injury
Your knees absorb most of the shock to the body during everyday activities like walking, and they absorb considerably more in intense winter activities like skiing or skating. The unique workout these winter sports provide – combined with cold and added risk of falling – increase your chances of both mild and severe knee injuries dramatically.

Ankle sprain or fracture
Winter sports are fraught with opportunities to twist or roll your ankles. In fact, the resulting fracture of the talus bone – located above the heel bone on the outside of the ankle – is so common while snowboarding, it’s widely known as snowboarder’s ankle.

With so many possible ways to injury yourself in winter sports accidents, it’s important to pay attention to any aches or pains that come home with you after a snow-filled vacation. Minor swelling or pain could indicate possible injuries that require treatment. When it comes to dealing with joints, tendons and ligaments, you may benefit from the expertise of the ten providers in the specialized practice of DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Decatur.

Since 1972, DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine has been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement, and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury and help put your life back in motion.

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