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Don’t Let Sports Injuries Freeze Your Fun

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Don’t Let Sports Injuries Freeze Your Fun

Learn the Risks & Safety Measures to Stay Safe This Winter

According to the U.S. Safety Commission, there were an estimated 124,700 winter activity-related injuries treated in emergency rooms nationwide in 2021. These activities included “snow skiing, ice hockey, using toboggans, sleds and snow discs, ice skating and using snowmobiles.” Snow skiing and snowboarding accounted for more than half of the total injuries (51.44%).

Most Common Winter Sports Injuries


Concussions are a serious risk in any sport, but they are particularly prevalent in winter activities such as skiing, sledding, ice hockey, and snowmobiling. When someone experiences a fall and hits their head, it’s imperative to check for signs of a concussion. Concussions are typically accompanied by dizziness, nausea, confusion, headache and memory loss. It is best to keep the person still until help arrives. Do not move them, especially if they are not conscious unless they are in immediate danger.


When you collide with hard surfaces like ice, the chances of dislocating your shoulder, knee, or elbow skyrocket. These dislocations often come with additional injuries to nearby muscles and ligaments. Immediately seek medical attention and get to a safe place where your injury can be assessed. Do not try to pop the joint back into place if you believe it’s dislocated. This should only be done by a medical professional.

Back Injuries

Falls on hard surfaces like ice can cause a number of back issues, ranging from bruises to spinal cord injuries, depending on the severity of the fall. If you are experiencing pain, it’s essential to seek medical attention to determine the degree of the injury.

If you have pre-existing back conditions like sciatica, you are more likely to experience pain during winter sports even if you have not experienced a fall. Be sure to listen to your body and stop if you feel pain.

Skier’s Thumb

Skiing, in particular, puts strain on the hands and wrists. A common injury called skier’s thumb is a sprain or tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the thumb, which is the ligament connecting the thumb to the hand. This injury is typically accompanied by pain, numbness and swelling in the thumb.

Knee Injuries

With their high impact and intense movements, winter activities can strain the knees greatly. This makes them more susceptible to injuries like sprains and fractures when skiing and skating. One of the most common knee injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, caused by the sudden stopping or twisting of the knee while the foot is still planted on the ground.

Ankle Sprains & Fractures

Ankle sprains and fractures are common in winter sports. Common causes include twisting or rolling the ankle, colliding with other people or objects like rocks, or moving on uneven terrain. One of the most common injuries is a talus fracture. The Talus bone is one of the bones that makes up the ankle joint. These fractures are most common in snowboarding and are commonly known as “snowboarder’s ankle.”

Winter Sports Safety Tips

Warm up and Stretch: Warm up thoroughly before your sporting activity. Cold muscles and tendons are more vulnerable to injuries.

Wear Appropriate Gear: Equip yourself with appropriate gear designed for your chosen sport. This includes a properly fitting helmet, goggles, gloves, and protective pads to minimize the risk of injuries.

Use Proper Technique: Learn and use proper techniques for your sport to avoid unnecessary strain on your body. Seek guidance or training from a professional if necessary.

Know Your Limits: Be realistic about your skill level, and don't push yourself too hard. It's essential to take breaks and rest when needed. This will help prevent fatigue and reduce your risk of injury.

Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can increase your risk of injuries, so drink plenty of water before, during, and after your activity.

Check the Weather Conditions: Be aware of the weather conditions before engaging in physical activity. Avoid extreme weather or slippery conditions that may increase the likelihood of injuries.

Watch Out for Others: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, especially on slopes or ice. Collisions with other people are a common cause of injuries, so be vigilant.

If you do sustain an injury, be sure to seek medical attention. Ignoring an injury can lead to more serious health problems.

Contact Our Experienced Orthopedists

If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms due to a sports injury, our dedicated team of orthopedic specialists are here to help. If you need immediate care, our OrthoFirst walk-in clinics provide same-day care for injuries. This visit is less expensive than an emergency room visit and allows you to see an orthopedic specialist instead of a general doctor. Learn more now.