Winter is upon us, and along with colder temperatures, winter kicks off the winter sports season. A whole host of people will be competing in or simply enjoying figure skating, skiing, sledding, ice climbing, and more. While these activities are fun and perhaps even an adrenaline rush for some, they can be dangerous. Practicing winter safety can ensure you don’t hurt yourself while you’re having fun.
Injuries are not uncommon when it comes to winter sports. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) did a study that revealed that nearly 200,000 people sought treatment at hospitals, doctor’s offices, and emergency rooms due to injuries sustained in winter sports accidents in 2018. The winter sports that accounted for most of those injuries included:
- Snow skiing – 76,000 injuries
- Snowboarding – 53,000 injuries
- Ice skating – 48,000 injuries
- Sledding and tobogganing – 22,000 injuries
The same AAOS study revealed overexertion is the primary cause of most winter sports injuries. The injuries that are among the most common include sprains, strains, dislocations, and fractures. Along with being painful, winter sports injuries can force people to sit on the sidelines until they have healed and their cast or splint has been removed.
The healing time for a fractured hand is 8 to 12 weeks, while a broken wrist can take 6 to 12 weeks to heal, depending on the severity of the injury.
Athletes and even the occasional weekend warrior who enjoys winter sports should practice the following safety tips to lower their chances of suffering an injury:
- Be familiar with and follow all rules of the sport in which you are participating
- Check weather reports to learn about storms and extreme drops in temperature before they happen
- Receive lessons from a qualified instructor if you’re unfamiliar with a particular sport
- Have emergency contacts and a plan in place for getting help should an injury occur
- Inspect sporting equipment to ensure it is in working order
- Learn how to fall to lower the risk of severe injuries
- Don’t participate in sports when exhausted
- Don’t participate in sports while in pain
- Seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing hypothermia or frostbite
- Staying hydrated
- Warm up and go inside as needed
Winter sports are fun and can be a great form of exercise. But we have to be mindful of our safety when participating in them. To learn more about winter sports safety or to seek treatment for a hand injury, don’t hesitate to call us at the Regional Hand Center in Fresno or Visalia, CA at (559) 322-HAND or use our online contact form.Back to All Blogs