The cold weather months are upon us, and with them come winter sports and cold weather-related injuries. Winter sports-related injuries are often seen in two categories–organized sports that are played during the winter, such as basketball, ice hockey and wrestling; and recreational outdoor sports, such as skiing, snowboarding and sledding. Common injuries that occur from these activities include ankle sprains, ACL tears and concussions.
To avoid winter sports-related injuries, be sure to participate in activities with a friend (never alone), warm up with a 5- to 10-minute jog followed by stretches, wear protective gear that fits properly, pay attention to warning signs, consider lessons in the activity, stay hydrated and pay attention to any changes in your body that occur during the activity.
Hypothermia and frostbite are also serious conditions to be aware of and prevent during the winter months. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature declines lower than 95 degrees, and if not treated, can result in death. Frostbite occurs when the soft tissue becomes frozen, and if not treated, can result in amputation. To prevent these bodily cold injuries from occurring, it is important to wear proper clothing, such as coats, gloves, hats and boots, avoid alcohol consumption, and check and prepare for the weather when participating in outdoor activities. Also, recognize that shivering is the body’s last defense for warming itself.
Fortunately, our community has an exceptional team of sports medicine specialists, primary care physicians and other related health care professionals within the Cone Health network that are dedicated to educating individuals about safety and treating cold weather-related injuries.
Shane Hudnall, MD, is a primary care sports medicine specialist at Cone Health Sports Medicine at MedCenter High Point. He is a 2007 graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in family medicine at Cone Health Family Medicine Center and completed his fellowship in sports medicine at Cone Health.