Every year, thousands of people in Canada head to ski slopes, frozen ponds, and skating rinks for some good old fashioned winter sports fun. Some favourite winter activities in Canada include tobogganing, skiing, snowboarding, and skating.
Unfortunately, the winter season also has a higher percentage of injuries compared to any other time of the year. In Alberta alone, almost 5,000 people were hospitalized last year due to winter sports-related injuries. Skiing and snowboarding are responsible for almost half of these injuries.
Canadians between the ages of 18 and 64 account for over half of all winter injury hospitalizations in the country. Most winter sports injuries occur from falling and slipping on ice; they can incapacitate a person for an average of two to four weeks at a time.
Here are some common winter sports injuries we see this time of the year:
Concussions commonly occur while playing hockey or skating, but can happen during any sports.
They’re also the leading cause of disabilities and death among snowboarders and skiers. Concussions usually happen when someone falls on their head or hits their head hard.
Symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, and confusion, vomiting, and swelling.
Broken or Dislocated Bones
Broken and dislocated bones are quite common among people with active lifestyles and athletes. Winter sports injuries often involve dislocated shoulders and elbows due to falls on ice.
While dislocations aren’t always serious, if not treated immediately, they can cause additional issues such as chronic pain and arthritis.
Most winter activities are quite hard on the knees, as they absorb most of the shock to the legs. Intense sports such as skiing and skating add a lot of pressure to the knees. Too much pressure or a sudden impact can result in injuries, especially if the knees are bent the wrong way or a person falls on their knees.
Common winter sport knee injuries include fractured kneecaps, torn ligaments, torn meniscus or knee dislocation.
Treating Common Sports Injuries:
North America has the highest market share in the sports injury treatment industry. Each year, Canadian ERs see thousands of people with sports injuries and prescribe various treatments, according to the severity of the injuries.
For most minor injuries doctors usually prescribe the RICE method. The process involves resting the injury, icing it every few hours, compressing the injury to restrict any movement that would exacerbate the condition, and keeping the injury elevated.
For severe and acute injuries, pain medication is prescribed to decrease the discomfort and surgery is recommended. For sprains and strains usually, physiotherapy and alternative treatments such as chiropractic care and prolotherapy are recommended as the best treatment.
Preventing Winter Sports Injuries:
Prevention is often the best way to avoid possible injuries from putting your winter plans on ice!
With the right preparation and planning, you can be ready to expect the unexpected and save yourself from getting hurt. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Warm-up before any activity. This is especially important during cold weather and allows your muscles to get ready. Five to ten minutes of light cardio, followed by some light stretching, can help loosen the muscles and increase blood flow
- Use proper protective equipment to prevent or minimize any inevitable injuries.
- Avoid going at it alone. Solitary sports such as skiing and snowboarding have a high risk of injuries which can have the potential of becoming life-threatening if you don’t get immediate help.
- Check the weather before you head up slopes. Certain weather conditions can turn even the safest winter sports into a disaster waiting to happen.
- Prevent your muscles from cramping up and increasing the risk of injuries by taking regular breaks.
Sometimes, despite taking proper care and preventive strategies, you can get hurt. In case you get injured during your favourite sports activity, the next step is to get the best possible care.
For reliable sports injury treatment in Calgary, we recommend reaching out to Divergent Health. The leading sports injury clinic is renowned for its range of innovative treatment options, ranging from prolotherapy and shockwave therapy to laser therapy and spinal decompression. To book an appointment, call 403.909.8111.