By CULLY CHRISTIANSON MD
When the thermometer drops, winter sports beckon. Sledding, skiing, and ice-skating can be exhilarating. But with these new activities come opportunities for injury.
Preventing Winter Sports Injuries
Take steps to keep safe anywhere else your cold-weather adventures take you.
Winter sports fun. Courtesy photo
- Prepare your body. Get in shape to ski or skate—condition muscles before the season starts. Warm up and stretch before each activity. Begin with a slow and easy session.
- Go to class. Take a lesson or two, especially for skiing or snowboarding. Instructors can teach you proper form and how to fall safely.
- Get the right gear. Ensure boards, skates, bindings that connect boots to skis, and other equipment is in working order. Get it checked at a certified shop. Remember goggles, gloves, padding, wrist guards, and other protective pieces.
- Strap on a helmet. More than 16,000 Americans sustained head injuries from winter sports in 2007. Choose a smooth, round helmet that fits snugly and doesn’t shift. Wear it when skiing, sledding, snowboarding, or riding a snowmobile.
- Quit while you’re ahead. Many injuries occur at the end of the day, when athletes get tired but attempt one last run or lap. If you’re fatigued or in pain, take a break or stop.
- Stay hydrated. Even in cold weather, it’s important to drink water before, during, and after your workout.
Keep The Little Ones Warm!
- If you have little ones, you know they want to join in. And wintry pastimes such as building snowmen and sledding count toward the hour of daily activity kids need.
- Little hands, feet, noses, and ears are prone to frostbite, when skin freezes from prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Kids are also at risk of hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature. To prevent these cold-weather conditions:
- Dress your children in layers. Make the inner layer moisture-reducing winter sportswear to prevent it from getting wet.
- Take break. Call them inside periodically to warm up.
If in spite of all precautions you sustain a sports injury, we have you covered.
Contact orthopaedic surgeon Culley Christensen, MD, for a consultation at 505.661.9118.