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Snowboarder jumping high up in the air

Walking on Thin Ice: Injuries from High-Impact Winter Sports

Snowboarder jumping high up in the airWinter in the U.S. is a magical and a particularly exciting time, especially for snow sports enthusiasts. During this season, people from all over the country flock to the Midwest and northeastern parts of the country to enjoy the snow and all the winter activities it brings.

In 2017, 23 million people engaged in winter sports activities such as skiing and snowboarding in the country, according to the Physical Activity Council.

However, the combination of the cold weather, the snow and ice, and the reckless fun of winter sports pose a serious risk to athletes and casual sports enthusiasts. Since most winter sports are high-impact, meaning most of the time, both feet of a person are off the ground at the same time, they can be dangerous to those who aren’t adequately trained or geared up.

Since winter is almost here, you might be one of the millions of people who are thinking about joining winter sports activities. If so, you better come to the slopes prepared for the following injuries:

Head Injuries

Concussions are one of the most prevalent injuries that people who engage in winter sports get. Skiing, snowboarding, even hockey, and ice skating, require high speeds and done on slippery surfaces. This combination heightens the risk of collisions and falls, leading to your head hitting the ground.

To protect yourself from concussions and other head injuries, you should always wear a proper helmet. Additionally, wearing mouth guards can limit the severity of your concussion and protect your mouth from other injuries according to Damage Control Mouthguards.

Knee Injuries

Torn ligament, fractured kneecaps, and dislocated knees are some of the most severe injuries you can get from high-impact winter sports. The knees absorb the shock to the body from the direct blow of landing or falling when you’re skiing or snowboarding. The strain the high impact puts on your knees makes that body part even more susceptible to injuries with one wrong move.

To prevent or at least minimize the blow of knee injuries, make sure to pack your knee pads and put them on while you’re on the ice. It’s also best to practice different fall techniques so you won’t end up landing on your knees and injuring them.

Hand Injuries

There’s a reason that one particular thumb injury is called a skier’s thumb. When you fall on an outstretched hand with a ski pole in your palm, you create a force that stresses the thumb and stretched or tears your ligament. Other hand injuries include broken wrists and lacerations, both caused by extreme impact.

Protect your hands from the cold and the injuries that come with it by wearing proper winter gloves. Choose gloves that help you grip things like ski poles tighter and ones that have wrist protection. Also, let go of ski poles and don’t use your wrist to brace against falls.

When you’re on the slopes or the rink, follow these safety precautions. Exercise caution and keep in mind the proper techniques each high-impact winter sports activity needs. Don’t let the snow freeze your fun this winter.