Winter has arrived and with that so has the snow across the country, meaning that snow sports injuries have also returned. All sports are subject to injuries and snow sports are no exception regarding the number of injuries sustained each year. There is a risk of serious injury each time you are out on the slopes or on the rink and understanding how to avoid them is key to your participating in the sport.
Sports injuries are the second most common reason people visit the emergency room. According to gathered data, nearly 3.8 million people were injured in winter sports in the United States alone in a recent year.
Research has shown that some of the injuries picked up while participating in snow sports could be prevented when taking certain precautions. Minimizing and eliminating the risks that come with educating yourself on the types of injuries we often see when clients visit our offices and knowing how to deal with an existing injury or avoiding them all together.
Here are the different types of injuries that our experts see and here are some tips for staying active this winter.
What are the most common snow sports injuries and how to know when there is a problem?
Most common injuries in snow sports occur when skiing, snowboarding, or on the ice. Bone fractures, muscle sprains/strains, and torn ligaments rank as the three most commonly suffered injuries when discussing winter sports.
There are certain levels of risk when it comes to injuries and the different types of maneuvers performed in each of the sports.
With each, come different types of injuries that can occur, and knowing which are most common can help one prepare for the safety equipment or support needed in order to avoid these types of injuries.
#1 – Bone Fractures
There are obvious identifiers if you may have a fractured bone. That is a snap or grinding noise when the injury occurs followed by pain or numbness in that part of the body. As a result, there could be swelling, bruising, or tenderness in the injured area(s).
Pain could be felt when weight or pressure is put on the injury, and persists when you touch it, press it, or move it.
The most obvious is if the injured body part is deformed or has several places where it looks different than normal. A compound fracture could also occur and that is when a bone breaks through the skin. Seek medical help should any of these symptoms exist.
#2 – Muscle Sprains/Strains
Muscles are a little trickier than the fractures. Muscles will get tight, cramp up, stay sore for a few days, and are hard to understand because there are so many layers to figuring out the true problem.
Sprains or strains in the muscle are more identifiable if they are lasting issues, and ones that do not seem to be going away on their own. To start, there will be pain or tenderness to the area where the problem has occurred.
Signs that the issue might be a strain/sprain is redness or bruising in the area, limited motion, muscle spasms, swelling, or muscle weakness. Mild strains can usually be treated at home, but it is always recommended to see a professional if the problem persists for a few days.
#3 – Torn Ligaments
Tears or strains in a ligament occur if a joint becomes overstretched or is twisted. Ligaments could have incomplete or total tears. An incomplete tear may feel like a severe strain, while a total tear can be as painful as a broken bone.
Your first sign is often feeling the ligament snap or pop when the injury occurs. It is usually followed up with pain that does not improve or worsens within a 24 to 72 hour window. Swelling in and around the ligament will stay the same or worsen depending on the extent of the injury.
There will be a limited ability to move the joint, to put any weight or pressure on the area, and the symptoms remain for more than 24 to 72 hours. That is when someone should see a doctor to identify the severity of the injury and seek help on how to mend the problem area.
#4 – Other Common Injuries
The risks for head, neck and back injuries are high when discussing snow sports. The wintery elements, combined with the surface, along with the heights contribute with the number of injuries that we see in these sports.
Seeking medical help when injured is encouraged, especially to the head, neck, or back area. These are often serious injuries that require medical expertise and cannot heal on their own.
We recommend that you seek immediate help should you sustain an injury in these areas.
Have a snow sport related injury that you want to have checked out?
If you want to get yourself winter sports ready or are already suffering from an injury you’ve sustained, then you would be perfect for our Snow Sports Injury Assessment.
If your body is struggling with a snow sport related injury, or is struggling to keep up with the demands of being an athlete, our team can help.
To find out how our rehabilitative experts utilize a variety of physical therapy techniques that can help you overcome your pain and stay active, Arrange A Snow Sports Injury Assessment by completing our online contact form in under 30 seconds or call our friendly team on (425) 252-3908.
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We understand that you may not have visited a Physical Therapy clinic before and be unsure whether it’s going to help you as a student athlete.
If so, check out this review from K J Wright, Linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks:
“Can’t thank SPT enough for getting my body back strong! They understand how to be smart and work hard at the same time! Awesome group to work with”
Our team were able to help KJ, and we can help you too!