Playing sports and participating in fun activities in the winter season provides uniquely exciting thrills and spills. But falls on the slippery ice can be quite painful and result in a wide range of orthopedic injuries ranging from mild sprains & strains to more serious fractures of the ankle, hip, wrist, elbow, or shoulder. Here are some tips to avoid common winter injuries:
- Wear proper footwear: Use footwear that offers good insulation and traction. There should be enough room in the shoe to accommodate thick socks that will keep your feet warm. You can also consider wearing slip-on ice cleats for enhanced traction.
- Use of protective gear: When playing sports use appropriate helmets, pads, googles, and shoes.
- Dress in layers: This is a proven strategy to protect yourself from the cold weather while enjoying outdoor activities with friends and family. You can slip on or off the layers of clothing depending on the activity level or changes in weather.
- Warm up thoroughly: Take the time to stretch and perform some lightweight exercises to warm up cold and stiff joints and muscles. Many sports injuries such as ligaments, tendon, or muscle tears can be attributed to jumping straight into the activity without a warmup.
- Stay well hydrated: The likelihood of dehydration is higher when you are playing sports in cold weather, especially at high altitudes. Make sure you drink enough water before, during and after your activity.
- Avoiding falls while walking: Take short strides rather than long ones. Don’t rush yourself and use a handrail when taking the stairs. Also, don’t multitask and be mindful of where you are stepping. What looks like a puddle of water may actually be a sheet of ice.
The aforementioned tips will help keep you out of harm’s way while doing the things that you enjoy in the winter season.
Dr. Ronak Patel is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon offering a full range of care for all problems of the knee and shoulder with a special interest in complex knee disorders. Book your appointment with Dr. Patel today: (630) 929-2249.