Common Winter Orthopaedic Injuries and Prevention

Winter is coming and along with it, a seasonal trend of orthopaedic injuries. Common winter orthopaedic injuries can mean a big damper on your holiday spirit. But the change in the weather does not need to mean a trip to see your orthopaedic surgeon. There are plenty of ways to avoid many of the most common winter orthopaedic injuries.

Here is a list of the most common winter orthopaedic injuries:

  • Hand fractures resulting from a fall often on ice or a slippery wet surface.
  • Distal radius (wrist fractures) often associated with attempting to break a fall with outstretched hand. This type of injury can also result from a skiing, ice skating or snow boarding fall.
  • Ankle fractures can easily occur when an individual falls or twists the ankle. Orthopaedic surgeons often treat individuals that have fallen from a ladder while hanging holiday lights or decorations.
  • Knee injuries, including a torn meniscus or torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), are common for winter sports enthusiasts. Skiers and snowboarders can be at higher risk for this type of injury in the winter months especially when the body is fatigued at the end of a long day on the slopes.

How can you avoid the above common winter orthopaedic injuries? Follow a few simple tips and your chances of sustaining an injury should decrease over the next few months.

  • Wear proper footwear. Your feet are the first thing that hit the ground when you venture out from the house. Be sure that you have tread on your shoes and good ankle supports especially if the ground is covered in ice or snow.
  • Make sure to salt sidewalks and parking lots. Even the smallest spot of ice can land you flat on your back in a split second.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. This is important especially at night. Be sure to hold hand rails when going down slick stairs and always look before you step.
  • When participating in winter sports, always be sure to wear proper protective gear, including a helmet.
  • Properly hydrate. The body can easily become dehydrated in the winter despite the fact that temps are chilly. Whether shoveling the snow or hitting the slopes, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Allow plenty of time. Rushing and walking quickly can increase the likelihood that you might fall on a slippery surface. Be sure to allow extra time when leaving the house.

If you do succumb to one of the common winter orthopaedic injuries, be sure to seek the treatment of a board certified orthopaedic surgeon.

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