As we head into the winter season, many of us will make the most of it and take to the ice and slopes. If you enjoy winter sports, however, it’s worth thinking about the potential dangers out there in order to keep yourself safe, avoid an injury, and make sure the fun doesn’t get cut short this winter.
Sledding causes most winter sports injuries, but other sports – such as snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, and hockey – have their fair share of injuries as well. These injuries include the following:
A joint dislocation usually occurs from a sudden blow to the joint, such as a fall or by crashing into something – which can force the joint out of its normal position. Winter sports such as skiing can cause dislocations in the shoulder, knee, or elbow.
Symptoms include sudden and severe pain, an inability to bend or straighten the joint, and deformity in the joint. (Note that these injury symptoms can also indicate a fracture, so a medical evaluation is necessary.)
A fracture (broken bone) can occur from a direct impact or trauma, such as from a fall, collision, or using your hands to break a fall. Fractures can occur in any bone in the body, but the most common breaks associated with winter sports are in the wrist, elbow, ankle, and knee.
Symptoms of a fracture can include sudden and intense pain, swelling, and bruising. The area where the break occurred will feel tender to the touch. Often, you will not be able to move the fractured area. If you suspect you have a fracture, seek medical care right away.
The shoulder joint has a wider range of motion than do the other joints, thereby making it less stable and more vulnerable to injury. If you fall awkwardly, use your arms to break a fall, or hit a hard surface like ice, it can cause a winter sports injury such as a dislocated shoulder or rotator cuff tear.
Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff can include pain in your shoulder, arm pain, stiffness, weakness, and difficulty moving the arm. If you suffer a sudden or traumatic shoulder injury, you may feel a snap and sudden pain.
Knees absorb much of the shock during sports such as skiing or skating. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) provides special stability to the knee joint, so it is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. It can tear partially or fully when landing from a jump, when rapidly changing direction, or when twisting the knee aggressively.
Symptoms can include pain, swelling, knee instability immediately after the injury, and difficulty moving or straightening the knee. Other knee injuries include dislocation, damaged cartilage, and fracture.
A sprained ankle is a common ankle injury and is caused by overstretching or tearing the related ligaments. This can happen by walking or running on uneven surfaces, trauma to the ankle, or twisting or rolling the ankle.
Ankle injuries, such as fractures and sprains, are particularly common among snowboarders. Ankle sprains can cause symptoms including swelling, pain, bruising, limited movement around the joint, and a popping sensation.
Concussions are common during the winter season, and many of these occur during skiing and snowboarding. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs from a blow to the head or when the head or body gets shaken forcefully.
A concussion can cause confusion, blurry vision, drowsiness, dizziness, swelling (causing a feeling of pressure), headaches, nausea, and vomiting, and may cause a loss of consciousness. Concussions can lead to long-term brain damage and even death if it is not treated properly – so if you suspect a concussion, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Sports Medicine in Maryland
If you have suffered a sports-related injury, schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland today. We can help relieve your pain and get you back to your sport or fitness activities in no time.
Call us at (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663), or you can request an appointment via our online form now. We look forward to hearing from you!