Hitting the slopes or the skating rink as the winter of 2020 winds down? Don’t let an accident or injury spoil your fun.
“Winter sports and recreational activities have great health and cardiovascular benefits,” said Dr. Joseph Bosco, vice president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). “However, it’s important not to underestimate the risks that cold weather can bring.”
He noted that hospitals and health care clinics see a surge of bone and joint injuries during the winter months and many could be prevented with the right preparation.
Sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures and more traumatic injuries can happen to anyone. Here, Bosco and the AAOS offer suggestions on how to protect yourself:
- Be prepared: Before you tackle a winter sport, make sure your muscles are warmed up and in good condition. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more prone to injury. Make sure to have water and other supplies on standby.
- Wear appropriate gear: Well-fitting protective equipment like goggles, helmets, gloves and padding is crucial. Your clothes should be layered, light, loose and wind-resistant. Footwear should be warm, provide ankle support and keep your feet dry.
- Follow the rules: If you’re unsure of the rules of your sport, it’s time to take a lesson with a qualified instructor, especially with sports like skiing and snowboarding. Knowing how to fall correctly and safely can drastically reduce your risk of injury.
- Keep an eye on the weather: Warnings about storms and extremely low temperatures are red flags. If you’re experiencing hypothermia or frostbite, seek immediate shelter and medical attention.
- Use common sense: Always have a buddy when participating in an outdoor sport or activity. If you feel pain or fatigue, don’t push yourself and stop the activity.
“Don’t let winter sports injuries freeze your fun,” Bosco said in an AAOS news release. “By keeping in good physical condition, staying alert and stopping when you’re tired or in pain, you can enjoy the best of winter and reduce your risk of injury.”
The Mayo Clinic has more on common winter activity injuries.