Common Injuries Sustained in Winter Sports & What Treatment May Look Like

Common Injuries Sustained in Winter Sports & What Treatment May Look Like

After witnessing U.S. luger Emily Sweeney’s crash Tuesday at the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic Games, it was determined that although she appears to have no broken bones she is still going to undergo an X-ray to be sure. With this, articles are beginning to surface discussing how there is definitely a certain degree of danger and risk that comes with winter sports that don’t necessarily present itself during the summer games.

(Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports)

In the winter months, we frequently see athletes or members of the active population that participate in these sports and the injuries can range from a sprained ankle, all the way to a broken back.

Here are some of the most common sports injuries that we see sustained in these sports, and how to possibly prevent them from moving forward.

Hockey & Ice Skating

Herniated discs or strain on the SI joint in lower back from falling hard on the ice

Physical therapy and gentle stretchingHeat/ice therapyUse of anti-inflammatoriesSurgery to repair the herniation

ACL/MCL tears from sudden stops add twisting when skating

Ice therapy immediately afterWear a hinge brace for 3-6 weeks vs. surgerySurgery to repair the tears (almost always the case)Physical therapy and gentle stretching after surgery

AC joint shoulder separations from bracing a fall on the ice

Heat/ice therapy, you may return quickly with a low grade injuryPhysical therapy to regain mobility and range of motionUse of anti-inflammtoriesIn more severe tears, surgery to repair the joint

Skiing

Meniscus tears from twisting your knee incorrectly

Heat/ice therpyPhysical therapy to regain mobility and range of motionUse of anti-inflammtories

ACL/MCL

tears from landing a jump incorrectly

and twisting the knee, or suddenly changing direction

Ice therapy immediately after wear a hinge brace for 3-6 weeks vs. Surgery to repair the tears (almost always the case) Physical therapy and gentle stretching after surgery

Tibia/fibula fractures

Surgery to repair the fractures casting

Snowboarding

Ankle fracture (Talus bone)

Foot cast typically will require surgery to correct the fracture

This is one of the most common injuries in snowboarders and is often missed on a normal x-ray. However, here at OPA, we have a pedCAT standing x-ray machine to accurately diagnose this

Rotator cuff tears

Ice and physical therapy to regain mobility and range of motionRefrain from the activity and overhead lifting

Depending on the grade of the tear, you can live with a rotator cuff tear as long as it doesn’t prevent you from overhead lifting or enjoying life

Clavicle fractures

Wear a sling for 4-6 weeks to protect the bone enough for healing Ice and physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion. Depending on how misaligned the bone is when broken, surgical intervention may be necessary

Shoulder dislocations

Heat/ice therapy and physical therapy to regain mobility and range of motion. Use of anti-inflammatoriesSurgery to repair the joint (if you’ve had multiple dislocations there is a high risk of recurrence)

Wrist fractures

Use of a padded split or cast. May require surgery depending on the severity of the fracture

Every person is different, so your treatment plan will vary. The best way to ensure that you’re receiving the best possible treatment for your specific injury is to schedule a consultation with an orthopedic physician.

– Jason Wilcox, M.D.

To learn more about Dr. Wilcox.

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