Every year during the winter season, millions of people, including youth, participate in winter sports. They flock to skating rinks, ski slopes and other winter wonderlands to enjoy skating, skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding and other fun activities.
While these sports can be exhilarating and fun, they also carry an injury risk. Between 2011 and 2014, children and young adults ages 5 to 24 in the U.S. suffered an estimated annual average of 5.6 million sports- and recreation-related injuries. Here we discuss the most common winter sports injuries, prevention tips and treatment.
Three most common youth winter sports injuries
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a sudden movement of the head. Concussions pose a high risk to teens and adolescents because their brains aren’t fully developed. This can lead to long-term consequences including anxiety, learning difficulties and depression.
The best way to prevent concussions is to wear a properly fitting helmet. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for a concussion. The doctor will prescribe rest and restrict activities to allow the brain to recover. It is extremely important to follow the doctor’s orders as participating in activities too early could result in long-term damage.
Strains and sprains
Strains are injuries to the muscles, and sprains are injuries to the ligaments. Sprains and strains happen when there is overstretching or tearing of muscles, tendons and ligaments. They are the most common injuries in winter sports and usually occur when you fall, twist an ankle or hit something with sudden force.
The best way to prevent strains and sprains is to wear appropriate padding and clothing and to stay aware of your surroundings. The standard treatment for these injuries is using the RICE — rest, ice, compression and elevation — technique. You can also use over-the-counter painkillers to manage and reduce the pain until recovered.
The knee is one of the most important joints in our bodies. It carries most of our weight when we walk or run and allows us to bend over and sit down. However, it is also a highly complex joint and can easily get injured in winter sports. The most common knee injuries are torn ligaments, damaged cartilage and knee fractures.
If you have any slight instability, wear a knee brace to prevent knee injuries and follow safety techniques to avoid falls. You can use the RICE technique to treat knee injuries, but you may need surgical treatment, such as arthroscopic surgery, if the injury is more severe.
Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine can help
Winter sports injuries affect your sporting activities and pose a long-term health risk, leading to severe complications. It’s therefore critical to get treatment for any injury as soon as possible.
If you suffer from any orthopedic sports injury, Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine can help. We are a leading orthopedic surgery center and offer comprehensive treatment for all kinds of sports injuries. Contact us today at 314.567.5850 to schedule an appointment and get started on your road to recovery.