December 28, 2011
Winter-sports heighten in popularity as people begin to hit the ski slopes over winter vacation, and therefore increase their changes of acquiring common musculoskeletal injuries. Both adults and children, from the advanced to the novice, can prevent injuries by being cautious, aware and realistic of their athletic ability, limitations and surroundings.
Winter sports-related injuries that resulted from activities such as snow skiing, sledding and snowboarding accounted for more than 144,200 visits to hospital emergency departments in 2009.
To prevent winter sports-related injuries this holiday season, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests the following safety tips:
• Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves, and padding. For warmth and protection when playing outside, wear several layers of light, loose and water- and wind-resistant clothing. Layering allows you to accommodate your body's constantly changing temperature.
• Warm up muscles with light exercise for 10 minutes. Begin your lifting routines with manageable weights and do not overdo aerobic activities. Replenish fluids to prevent dehydration.
• Know and abide by all rules of the winter sport in which you are participating. Make sure equipment is in good working order and used properly. When hitting the slopes, take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor. Learn how to fall correctly to reduce the risk of injury.
• Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you or anyone with you is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite when in the cold.