During the cold months of winter, the fun provided by snow can also carry some physical risks. As every orthopedic surgeon knows, joint injuries spike in times of heavy snowfall. So before you head outdoors to engage in any chores, games, or activities in the snow, it’s important to know about the injury risks that are common during this time of year.
Snow and Ice Injuries
In 2010, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted a study that found winter sports responsible for 440,000 injuries. Snowboarding accounted for the most injuries (148,000), followed by snow skiing (144,000), sledding/tobogganing (91,000), and ice skating (58,500). The majority of these injuries involved dislocations, fractures, sprains, and strains—the types of injuries that generally require immediate attention from an orthopedic surgeon.
How to Prevent Snow-Sport Injuries
For starters, you should never engage in winter sports without the company of a friend or companion. You should also be physically warmed up and dressed in the necessary gear for the winter sport in question. Before you begin, inspect your equipment to ensure reliable performance throughout the course of your game. As the game nears its end, refrain from overexertion; a lot of the injuries that orthopedic doctors treat are those caused from excessive strain in the final run of a game.
Other Wintertime Injury Risks
When sidewalks, driveways, stairwells, and front door patios are paved with ice and snow, people are more vulnerable to slip-and-fall injuries. Wounds to the head are common during winter falls, as are wrist and hip fractures. Therefore, it’s wise to avoid the outdoors on icy days unless you really have to go out for something. When you do go out, wear footwear with rubber traction and take slower, shorter steps wherever you walk.
At Able Orthopedic & Sports Medicine in Forest Hills, we offer orthopedic therapy for people with winter-related injuries from around the NYC area. To find out more about what we offer, or to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, call us at (718) 690-9520.