Colder temperatures and snow are finally gracing the tops of our favorite summits, and with that comes winter sports! We always promote an active lifestyle, but it’s essential to ski safely and within your limits to prevent common winter knee injuries. Skiing or sledding down mountains can be exciting, but it can also be harmful, especially to your knees. These are tips on staying active in a winter wonderland and how to prevent winter knee injuries.
Last year, emergency rooms treated an estimated 110,900 winter activity-related injuries. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). The activities included snow skiing, ice hockey, using toboggans, sleds, snow discs, ice skating, and snowmobiles. Most of these winter sports injuries can be prevented by preparing for whichever winter sport you are pursuing.
If you haven’t participated in winter sports for a while, you must take it slowly upon returning! Especially, If you haven’t been active or exercising this year. Ease yourself back in gradually rather than picking up where you left off. Starting slow is a great way to prevent common knee injuries.
Running through a warm-up routine before any sport can prevent injury. A good warm-up prepares your body for more intense activity. Warming up gets the blood flowing, raises muscle temperature, and increases breathing rate. This will help prevent injury and also help improve overall performance.
Stretching before and after exercise helps with soreness and prevents injury. Stretching over time can help increase flexibility as well. Without proper stretching, muscles can become tight and shorten. Not stretching your muscle can weaken it and cause it not to fully extend. Avoiding stretching can cause joint pain, strains, and even muscle damage.
WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR
You should always wear appropriate protective gear, goggles, helmets, gloves, and padding. Ensuring your equipment works correctly before use will also help prevent unforeseen injuries. During winter sports wearing the correct clothing is also essential. Several layers of light clothing will allow you to accommodate your changing body temperature. In the winter, it is also vital to wear wind and water-resistant clothing.
DON’T IGNORE PAIN
If your knees are in pain, that could be a significant red flag. Your body may be telling you something is wrong, and it would be a good time to ease up on your actions. Pushing through knee pain is an excellent way to end up with a knee injury. Knee injuries can put your winter sports on hold for weeks or even months. Talk to a doctor if you are experiencing any knee pain.
At OrthoManhattan, we see various knee injuries and conditions all year long, but you can prevent common winter knee injuries with the proper precautions. You can learn more about the common knee injuries we treat here and some of the knee treatments we offer. If you have suffered a knee injury on the slopes or are experiencing knee pain, please reach out to us through the form on this page or by making an appointment here. We’d love nothing more than to get you back to pain-free living. Happy Skiing!