Play it safe this winter
Some may love when the snow starts to fly, others do not. The one thing we can agree on is that Wisconsinites have plenty of winter sports to choose from once temperatures drop. Along with those cold weather sports, come cold weather injuries. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jim Foskett hopes his advice will keep you and your family on the slopes, trails and ice this winter.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2007 there were nearly 685,000 injuries reported due to snow skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, ice hockey, sledding and snowmobiling. These injuries bring many to the emergency room or doctor’s office all winter long.
“In this area, as you can imagine, I see a lot of patients with injuries from winter sports,” states Dr. Foskett. “Fortunately, many of them can be avoided by following some key precautions.”
We know the majority of winter sports injuries come at the end of the day, when people push themselves to get one more run in before the end of the day. Keeping in good physical condition, staying alert, avoiding alcohol and recognizing when you’ve become too tired or are in pain are key guidelines.
“Winter sports athletes should try to do sport-specific conditioning and exercises year-round,” adds Dr. Foskett. “Take it easy your first time out for the season and listen to your body’s cues to slow down or stop. Most injuries occur when muscles are tired and fatigued.”
The following is a list of winter sports tips created by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS):
- Never participate alone in a winter sport
- Keep in shape and condition muscles before participating in winter activities
- Warm up thoroughly before playing. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding
- Check that equipment is in good working order and used properly
- Wear several layers of light, loose and water/wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. Wear proper footwear that provides warmth and dryness as well as ample ankle support
- Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating
- Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snowboarding. Learning how to fall correctly and safely can reduce the risk of injury
- Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature to ensure safety.
- Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you, or anyone with you, is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite. Make sure everyone is aware of proper procedures for getting help if injuries occur
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after activities
- Avoid participating in sports when you are in pain or exhausted
Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Jim Foskett and his partner Dr. Frank Walter are here to provide you with the latest in orthopedic services in conjunction with our emergency services, rehabilitation services and more. Please call them at (608) 745-6420 if you have orthopedic surgery needs – anything from fractures and joint pain to the latest in total knee, hip and shoulder replacements.
Since 1917, Divine Savior Healthcare has been providing quality health care to Portage and its surrounding communities. Founded by the Sisters of the Divine Savior, the organization employs over 700 people and offers a variety of services performed by highly trained and skilled professionals. Learn more about Divine Savior Healthcare at www.dshealthcare.com
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