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Glide, Slide, and Skate Through Winter Injury-free

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Glide, Slide, and Skate Through Winter Injury-free

Safety Tips for Preventing Winter Sports Injuries

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010 more than 440,000 Americans were treated for winter sports-related injuries. That’s a whole lot of snow skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, and tobogganing injuries! Most of them involve dislocations, fractures, sprains, and strains.

“To avoid injury, it’s important to develop a sort of ‘best practices list’ when participating in any sport, but it’s especially vital during the winter months,” says Dr. Vishal Mehta, a Chicago area sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Fox Valley Orthopedics. “Many winter sports-related injuries can be prevented.”

So when the short winter days and nippy air inspire you to join in the fray of winter activities, here’s how to stay safe and still have fun:

  • Stay in shape throughout the year
  • Condition and warm up muscles before participating
  • Do an equipment check before heading out
  • Wear protective gear – helmets, gloves, goggles, and padding, whatever the sport requires
  • Dress in layers
  • Wear proper footwear for both warmth and ankle support
  • Never head out alone
  • Take a lesson from a qualified instructor…learning how to fall properly can reduce the risk of injury
  • Follow the rules of the sport
  • Pay attention to storm warnings and temperature drops
  • Ensure all participants know emergency procedures, and how to get help
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities
  • It’s time to call it a day when you’re exhausted or in pain

“There are so many more variables to consider this time of year…icy surfaces, lower temperatures, and everything else mother nature may decide to throw at you,” says Dr. Mehta. “As always, prevention is the best medicine when it comes to injury prevention and winter sports.”