With the proper gear and training, winter sports can be a great way to stay active and get outside during the cold winter months. However, without the proper gear or training, you may find yourself with an injury that keeps you indoors the rest of the season. If you don’t fully prepare yourself for winter sports, the following injuries could occur:

  • Sprains and Strains: Although these two words are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. A sprain is the overstretching or tearing of ligaments and a strain is the overstretching or tearing of muscles or tendons. The symptoms of the two are very similar and are often caused by a lack of warming up or improper equipment. If it is a mild sprain or strain, it is recommended that you rest, apply ice, compression, and elevate the sprain/strain to minimize damage and speed up the recovery process. 
  • Dislocations: A dislocation occurs when a bone slips out of a joint. You can dislocate almost any joint in your body, including your knee, hip, ankle, or shoulder. Because a dislocation means your bone is no longer where it should be, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once your provider places the bone back in your joint, they can send you home with a treatment plan specific to your injury. This will include rest and physical therapy. 
  • Fractures: A fracture is a complete or partial break in a bone. The most common fractures for winter sports are the wrist, arm, ankle, and leg. Fractures do range in extremity, however, it is important to seek medical attention immediately to ensure you are receiving the proper care. 
  • Head Injuries: Because head injuries can be so serious, it is recommended that you wear a helmet when participating in winter sports. A proper-fitting helmet can minimize the damage caused by falls and potentially save lives. If you do experience a head injury, it is important to get medical attention immediately. 

The good news? Most winter sports injuries can easily be prevented if participants prepare for their sport. Follow these tips to prepare your body for winter sports and enjoy the season, injury-free:

  • Warm-up thoroughly before playing or participating. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.
  • Stay active throughout the year. Staying active allows your muscles to stay strong which will ultimately decrease your risk of injury from sports. 
  • Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves, and padding. 
  • Check that equipment is working properly prior to use.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities.

Take advantage of the snow but stay safe. If you’ve experienced injuries from winter sports, Dr. Hicken can help you recover from your injury. To schedule an appointment with him, give us a call at 435-787-2000.