Winter is a time for fun outdoor sports — and unfortunately, winter sports accidents. With the season’s biting frost and slippery surroundings, outdoor activities could result in orthopedic injuries that don’t make it such a “wonderful” time of the year. While most injuries are mild and easily treatable, some require immediate attention from an orthopedic surgeon.
Common Winter Sports Orthopedic Injuries
The weather conditions during winter bring risks for orthopedic sports injuries. While some injuries can be severe, some accidents can be quite serious and require immediate medical attention. Some of the most common winter sports injuries are:
- Torn ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments in the knee. An injury to the ACL can cause instability and severe pain in the knee. It usually occurs in winter sports that involve sudden stops, twisting, or changes in direction, such as skiing.
- Wrist Fractures. A broken wrist involves the small bones in the wrist or the ends of the forearm bones. Snowboarders, skiers, and ice skaters are at risk for wrist injuries.
- Thumb Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injuries. Also known as “skier’s thumb”, this occurs when the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb is partially torn or completely ruptured.
- Knee Injuries. These injuries occur when the knee absorbs much of the shock of hard landings during sports, such as skiing or skating.
- Ankle Injuries. Ankle fractures and sprains are common injuries. They could be caused by running on uneven surfaces, ankle trauma, or twisting the ankle during winter sports.
When To Call An Orthopedic Surgeon
If you’re suffering from a winter sports injury, home treatments such as the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method are usually effective in reducing pain and swelling. However, some injuries might require more than home remedies. You should contact an orthopedic surgeon if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Significant swelling. If swelling is accompanied by bruising, tenderness, or a deformed limb, it could be a sign of a broken bone.
- Numbness and tingling. This could indicate possible nerve damage that can be caused by many orthopedic disorders, such as a dislocated joint or bone fracture.
- Inability to bear weight on the affected joint. If putting weight on the affected joint causes pain, it could indicate a serious injury.
- Inability to move the affected joint. If you’re unable to bend or move a joint, such as the wrist or knee, it could be due to an orthopedic injury.
- Persistent pain. If you suffer from an injury and pain persists after at least a week of rest, it’s time to see an orthopedic surgeon.
Aside from these general symptoms, there are also two types of injuries that an athlete should be concerned about after a winter sports accident:
Some examples of acute injuries are sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, torn cartilages, and more. Symptoms include pain, swelling, deformity, numbness, tingling, and restricted motion. Call an orthopedic surgeon if there is:
- Joint swelling or instability
- Visible deformity in the arms, legs, or joints
- Inability to bend or move a joint, arm, or leg
- Difficulty or inability to stand or walk
- Persistent pain
- Pain that disrupts daily life or sleep
- Overuse Injuries
Tendonitis, shin splints, fasciitis, and stress fractures are examples of overuse injuries. Common symptoms are pain, popping or grinding in the joints, swelling, and weakness. Call an orthopedic surgeon if there is:
- Localized pain that worsens
- Pain, swelling, stiffness, or weakness that disrupts daily life
- Pain that persists after treatments such as resting and taking pain relievers
- Pain that disrupts daily life or sleep
Most of the time, doctors recommend conservative treatment options, such as medication and physical therapy, before suggesting surgery. If noninvasive treatments fail, an orthopedic surgeon can carefully perform invasive surgical procedures that will treat your injury and relieve pain.
Orthopedic Surgeons In San Antonio, Texas
Injuries during a winter sports accident can cause long-lasting impacts on your body. Don’t let the frigid weather or fear of injuries hold you back from enjoying wintertime sports. If you experience orthopedic injuries, an orthopedic surgeon can always help relieve your pain and get back on your feet.
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, we understand how important it is to be active and enjoy your favorite winter sports. Our skilled orthopedic surgeons and compassionate staff are dedicated to helping patients recover from a wide range of orthopedic conditions and injuries.
If you experienced an orthopedic injury or would like to ask any questions, call us at (210) 692-7400 or secure an appointment by using our online appointment request form.
We look forward to relieving your pain and getting you back to your favorite winter sports!