Keep the Body Healthy: Winter Sports Injuries Prevention Tips for Athletes

For many athletically-inclined people, winter means a wide range of exciting winter sports to choose from. Unfortunately, it can also mean a wide range of potential injuries. In 2018 alone, some 200,000 Americans received treatment for injuries related to sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Let's look at the problem of winter sports injuries, including some smart ways to reduce your own risk for them.

The Most Common Winter Sports Injuries

Winter sports injury issues can range from mild soft tissue complaints to dangerous situations. Take a look at some common examples.

1. Ankle sprain

If you turn, twist, or land awkwardly on your ankle while ice skating, you can stretch or tear the joint's ligaments.

Ice hockey player suffering a knee injury

2. Knee injury

A rough ski landing or sudden twisting of your knee can do serious damage such as torn ligaments. If you experience popping or grinding in the joint, you may suffer from a ruptured ligament.

3. Shin splints

Inflamed shin bone tendons can cause a painful condition known as shin splints. The risk rises in winter as hard, frozen surfaces transfer more shock to the shins.

4. Bruised or broken bone

A nasty fall on the ice can fracture or bruise a bone, causing pain, swelling, and the inability to use the affected body part. 

5. Concussion

A hockey stick to the head can result in a concussion or brain bruise. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, confusion, and blurred vision.

6. Hypothermia or frostbite

Extreme exposure to cold temperatures can cut off the blood supply to your face, fingers, or toes, causing tissue death. It can also cause your core body temperature to fall dangerously low in a potentially life-threatening issue called hypothermia.

How to Prevent Winter Sports Injuries

The good news is that you can protect yourself against many of these cold-weather athletic injuries. Take the following tips to heart.

Pro Ice hockey player complete gear

1. Wear the right gear to protect yourself from the elements.

Choose footwear that will keep your feet dry while also supporting your ankles properly. Make sure you have the correct protective headgear, gloves, eyewear, and other safeguards.

2. Stay warm and dry before, during, and after your activity.

Dress in multiple loose layers so you can adjust the amount of thermal insulation your body receives. Don't leave gaps in your clothing that might allow water or ice to creep through to your skin.

3. Stretch properly before and after your activity.

Cold weather contributes to stiff, tight tissues that can easily sustain injuries. Limber up both before and after your chosen sport to keep the muscles loose and the blood flowing.

Ice hockey player taking a break from

4. Take breaks often to avoid overexertion.

Overexertion leads to exhausted muscles and a higher injury risk. Take regular breaks so your body can have a chance to relax and re-energize itself.

5. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

You can get dehydrated in winter as well as summer, especially when you're playing hard. Carry water in an insulated container and sip from it frequently.

6. Know the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia, and seek medical help if necessary.

If your skin turns pale or yellowish, seek a warm environment and medical evaluation for frostbite. If you experience confusion, slurred speech, exhaustion, or shivering, seek immediate treatment for hypothermia.

Chiropractic Care Can Treat Your Winter Sports Injuries

Winter sports injuries can occur despite your best preventative efforts. If a sports injury interrupts your fun, talk to the sports medicine doctor and sports chiropractor Sugar Land trusts, not just during the winter months but all year round. Contact Hogan Spine & Rehabilitation Center today to learn more and schedule an appointment with our skilled team.

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