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5 Most Common Winter Sports Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Winter comes with the promise of participating in activities that you only get to do during this time of the year. Among these activities are skating, skiing, snowmobiling, and sledding. These fun and exhilarating activities may also come with the pain of injury.

Some of these injuries are common, driving many people to make a trip to the hospital during winter. These common injuries are also preventable if you understand what you need to do to keep yourself safe. Prevention is better than cure, and it will also save you time and money.

Here are five common winter sports injuries and some practical advice to save you from that trip to the hospital.

  • Head and Spine Injuries

Head and spine injuries are a matter of concern when they happen. They are usually a result of colliding with other skiers, trees, or lift towers. Head and spine injuries can also be due to falls or chair lift accidents. The most common of these is a concussion.

A concussion can result in a significant brain injury that can affect brain function. Other side effects include headaches, loss of coordination, memory, and difficulty concentrating. Severe impact on the head can also result in unconsciousness. To prevent such incidences, you must wear a helmet. Research shows that helmets are effective in the reduction of otherwise severe head injuries.

  • Knee Injuries

These account for a third of winter sports injuries. Twisting your knee will most likely lead to spraining the medial collateral ligament (MCL). It could also lead to a knee ligament rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). These injuries have been on the increase. It is due to the technologies that allow the prevention of other injuries.

Technologies that prevent shin fractures and ankle injuries do not always protect the knee from sudden twisting. Forces that previously hurt the shin and ankle now dissipate at the knee. To prevent these injuries, make sure you wear knee support. You must also get a professional to service and adjust your bindings. Research shows that when you do not service or adjust your bindings well, it could lead to knee injuries.

  • Ankle Injuries

These injuries are the fractures of the outer side of the talus bone. They can be difficult to detect as they may not show on an X-ray exam. If you have persistent ankle pain, you may need a CT scan instead. To prevent these injuries, use a sports ankle brace. If you can, wear high-cut shoes; they will act as a physical barrier to injury.

  • Wrist Fracture

The main cause of wrist fractures is falling. Many times when you realize you are falling, the natural response is to break it with your hand. It results in suddenly applying too much weight on your hand at once, causing the wrist to fracture. To prevent this injury, wear a wrist guard. It will reduce the likelihood of a wrist injury during a fall.

  • Skier’s Thumb

This is an upper limb injury resulting from a fall. It is common when you are holding your ski pole during a fall. The ski pole acts as a lever on the inside of the thumb base. It overextends the thumb, causing a sprain or rupture to the ulnar collateral ligament. To prevent this injury, do not put your hands inside the ski pole loop—unless you fear losing your pole or you are in deep powder snow.



For information on common winter sports injuries, visit Back and Neck Pain Centers at our offices in Seattle, Bellevue, or Tukwila, Washington. You can also call (206) 233-0818, (206) 772-0088, (425) 649-9335, or (425) 243-1200 to schedule an appointment today.

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