The cold and snowy season features many activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and sledding. Before heading out on the slopes to take part in winter sports, participants are urged to consider safety measures to avoid common injuries, such as ankle or muscle strains and broken bones.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2017, emergency departments, doctors’ offices and clinics treated:

  • 68,809 people for snow skiing-related injuries.
  • 54,349 people for snowboard-related injuries; and
  • 52,308 people for ice skating-related injuries; and
  • 4,499 people for toboggan-related injuries.

“Overexerting yourself on the slopes can lead to injuries ending your run for the season,” said spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and orthopaedic foot, ankle and trauma surgeon Lori K. Reed, MD, in a media release.

“Individuals are at an increased risk of injuries such as sprains, strains, dislocations, and fractures due to exhaustion. You can prevent these by staying in good physical condition year-round and listening to your body. Don’t push your body when you are in pain or too tired.”

In the release, the AAOS offers the following tips for winter sports safety:

  • Keep in shape and condition muscles before participating in winter activities.
  • Warm up thoroughly before playing or participating. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are more vulnerable to injury.
  • Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snowboarding. Learning how to fall correctly and safely can reduce the risk of injury.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves, and padding.
  • Check that equipment is working properly prior to use.
  • Wear several layers of light, loose, and water-and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. Wear proper footwear that provides warmth and dryness, as well as ample ankle support.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities.
  • Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating.
  • Avoid participating alone in a winter sport.
  • Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature.
  • Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you, or anyone with you, is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite. Make sure everyone is aware of proper procedures for getting help, if injuries occur.

[Source(s): AAOS, PR Newswire]