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Common Winter Sports Injuries (Infographic)

Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO

This winter, many Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics patients will be traveling north for some fun in the snow. Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, or simply enjoying a walk in some snowy or icy conditions, make sure you’re aware of a few of the most common winter sports injuries (and what you can do to prevent them), as outlined in this infographic.

Head Injuries

Though fatalities are rare, head injuries – which account for 5% of all injuries – are serious. Ski lift exits, hard snow impact, and collision with other skiers, objects, and trees are some of the most common causes. Learn more about concussions.

Safety Tip: Wearing a helmet may provide some protection from minor falls and collisions. Most importantly: ski to your ability!

Spine Injuries

Whiplash is one of the more common ski injuries. Whiplash occurs when the head bends forward and then flies sharply backwards. Compression is also a spinal concern for skiers; this injury occurs when vertebrae are pushed into one another.

Safety Tip: Many spinal injuries are caused by reckless behavior. Be smart and safe when enjoying the outdoors. Also, never move someone if they have hurt their back (unless they are in a life-threatening position).

Skier’s Thumb

This injury often occurs by falling while holding onto a planted ski pole. (I’ll be posting a separate blog about this topic in a few weeks.)

Safety Tip: Let go of the ski pole as soon as you feel yourself falling.

Elbow Injuries

According to studies in the U.S., around 7% of injuries relate to the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow joint. This is a common injury among snowboarders, beginners and children.

Safety Tip: Elbows are sensitive areas, so consider wearing protective gear or straps – especially for small children or beginners. Doing so can help mitigate risk of serious injury.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries constitute 40% of all injuries. Though many are just sprains, which require a bit of R&R to recover, some ligament tears will be more serious and occasionally lead to lifelong disability.

Safety Tip: Strengthen your quads before you go skiing! Also, use correctly fitting boots and bindings. Make sure you have the right fit before you leave the rental shop.

Want to learn more? Review last year’s blog post about common winter sports injuries for more information.

Hurt? See a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor.

To learn more about how a Houston sports medicine doctor can care for you, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call us at (713) 756-5546 or schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.