Winter Sports Injury Prevention

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 440,000 people were treated in 2010 for winter sports-related injuries. These injuries were related to snow skiing, snowboarding, sledding, tobogganing, and ice skating.

What are some common winter sports injuries?

Injuries that are associated with winter sports include sprains, strains, fractures, and dislocations. Most of these injuries are easily prevented if sports participants adequately prepare by keeping in good physical condition, stopping when they are in pain or fatigued, or by staying alert.

Knee injuries that occur include tears to the anterior cruciate ligament and the meniscus. Also, head injuries are common serious winter sports injuries.

What are some prevention measures?

There are several things you can do to prevent injury during your favorite winter activities.

  • Maintain fitness. You should be in good physical condition to participate in winter sporting activities. If you are out of shape, start on a ski run that is not challenging.
  • Warm up. You need to warm up thoroughly before participating. Cold unstretched muscles, tendons, and ligaments are susceptible to injury. Warm up with running in place or doing jumping jacks for around 5 minutes.
  • Hydrate yourself. Mild dehydration can affect your endurance and physical ability. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after winter sporting activities.
  • Ensure a safe environment. Be sure you stay on known marked trails and avoid avalanche areas. Pay close attention to rocks and ice patches. Ask about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature.
  • Take a buddy. Do not participate in winter sports alone.
  • Know the safety rules. Be sure you understand and follow all rules of the ski resort or winter sports arena.
  • Layer up. Wear several layers of loose, light, water- and wind-resistant clothing for protection. This will allow you to accommodate your body’s changing temperature.
  • Wear proper footwear. Make sure your shoes keep your feet warm and dry, as well as provide adequate ankle support.
  • Seek shelter when necessary. Get out of the cold when you are experiencing signs of hypothermia or frostbite.