Children and teens most commonly sustain sports injuries, largely because those age groups are most often involved in sports. However, adults who continue to be active — or become active again, after a period of inactivity — are at risk of injury as well.
The expert providers at Orthocenter tend to see different types of sports injuries in the winter, compared with other seasons. Let’s take a look at the most common winter sports injuries, including tips on how to avoid them.
In 2018, around 200,000 people were treated for injuries sustained while participating in winter sports. Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and sledding or tobogganing were all counted in that statistic.
The most common injuries were sprains, strains, dislocations, and fractures. Frequently, these injuries happen when the participant is tired after a long day of play.
About 30 million children and teens take part in some kind of organized sports activity. More specifically, kids aged 14 or younger have about 3.5 million injuries, with just over 20% of them being sports-related, regardless of the season.
Practicing your sport as safely as possible is the first step in preventing injury. In some ways, safety is the same in spring, summer, autumn, and winter, of course, but there are a few winter-specific tips included below as well.
1. Stay conditioned
If you participate in sports only certain times of the year, you may find yourself less conditioned for your off-season activities. For example, if you love to ski, but mostly stay inside during the height of summer, you may return to the slopes out of shape and at higher risk of injury.
Staying active all year is the best way to remain in good condition. Even if you spend less time working out in the off-season, maintaining an exercise routine helps.
2. Warm up
No matter the sport or the season, cold muscles are more vulnerable to injury than warm ones. In cold weather, it may take a little longer to get your body warm, but it’s an essential part of avoiding injury.
3. Wear the right gear
Whether you’re a runner or a snowboarder, having the right equipment protects your body. In the winter, appropriate gear likely includes multiple, breathable layers for insulation, goggles, a helmet, gloves, and maybe padding.
4. Take a lesson
If you’re learning a new sport, or even if it’s been awhile, consider finding a qualified instructor to help you get back into the activity. For sports like skiing or snowboarding, learning the best way to fall can help you avoid injury.
5. Don’t take that ‘last run’
Because your risk of injury is greatest when you’re tired, it’s probably not a good idea to make “just one more run” if you’re not sure whether to do it.
While sports injuries are rarely fatal, they can certainly be quite serious and painful, and disrupt your life in unpleasant ways. Taking a few precautions lowers your risk exponentially, yet doesn’t detract from the fun at all.
If you’d like more information on avoiding sports injuries, or if you’ve had an injury and you think you might need to get it looked at, schedule an appointment at Orthocenter in Red Bank, Morganville, or Holmdel, New Jersey, today and get expert advice!