NCOG: Keeping You Healthy and Active
Winter is officially here and the orthopedic specialists at the North Country Orthopaedics Group (NCOG) want to help you enjoy your winter sports safely to avoid injury. Winter sports injuries are preventable, especially when armed with knowledge about common pitfalls and how to avoid them. Understanding the most common of these injuries and the reasons they occur is the first step in avoiding them.
Winter Sports Injury Statistics
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 110,000 people were treated at hospitals, doctors’ offices, and emergency rooms for injuries related to winter sports. In 2021, the following injuries were reported in various winter sports:
- Snow skiing and snowboarding accounted for 57,000 cases, making up 51.44% of injuries.
- Ice hockey was responsible for 17,000 injuries, representing 15.49% of the total.
- Injuries from sledding, tobogganing, and using snow discs amounted to 17,000, comprising 15.45%.
- There were 14,000 reported injuries in ice skating, which constituted 12.64% of the overall injuries in winter sports.
Tips to Reduce Risk for Winter Sports Injuries
Dry Hill Ski Resort, Watertown, NY
Whether you’re planning a day at Watertown Municipal Arena for skating, gearing up for a snowboarding adventure at Dry Hill, or hitting the slopes at Snow Ridge Ski Resort, it’s crucial to be well-prepared and follow practical safety guidelines. Reducing the risk of injury during winter sports goes beyond just being cautious about collisions and falls, which are major causes of trauma. Factors such as excessive speed, challenging weather conditions, overconfidence, and disregarding danger also come into play.
“Engaging in physical activities always carries an inherent risk of injury, and colder weather and icy conditions can introduce further complexities,” explains Dr. Carolyn Hettrich, a dedicated member of the NCOG sports medicine team, and winter sports enthusiast. A leader within the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), Dr. Hettrich goes on to emphasize, “Prioritizing readiness with the right equipment, adequate training, and staying informed about weather conditions is crucial before embarking on outdoor winter activities. Preparation can help you to avoid injury and keep enjoying winter activities.”
The AAOS recently released tips for protecting your bones and joints while participating in outdoor winter activity. To ensure a safer experience, here are some tips and strategies to consider:
- Warm-Up Before You Play: Make sure you warm up thoroughly before hitting the slopes or the ice. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are more prone to injury.
- Gear Up for Protection: Don’t skimp on protective gear. Wear goggles, helmets, gloves, and padding to safeguard yourself during winter sports.
- Dress Smart with Layers: Wear several layers of light, loose, water- and wind-resistant clothing to stay warm and protected. Layering helps regulate your body temperature. Also, choose proper footwear for warmth, dryness, and ankle support.
- Learn from Qualified Instructors: Consider taking lessons from qualified instructors, especially for skiing and snowboarding. Learning how to fall correctly can significantly reduce the risk of injury.
- Stay Informed About Weather: Pay close attention to weather warnings and sudden temperature drops. If you or anyone with you experiences hypothermia or frostbite, seek shelter and medical attention immediately. Ensure everyone knows the proper procedures for getting help in case of injuries.
Embrace Winter Safely with North Country Orthopaedics Group
This winter, enjoy the great outdoors while ensuring safety by following the recommended precautions from the North Country Orthopaedics Group. At NCOG, we are here to support you when you need us most. Our sports medicine clinic and physical therapy team provide support to patients of all ages with acute orthopedic conditions requiring immediate attention. Located at 1571 Washington Street Suite 201, in Watertown, NY, our clinic is open for same day or next day acute orthopedics appointments from 8:00-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-3:30 p.m, Monday through Friday. Simply call for an appointment.
If you experience an injury this winter, you can rest assured knowing the orthopedic specialists at NCOG have got you covered. With the ability to diagnose and treat patients in Watertown, Carthage, and Ogdensburg, there’s no need to leave the North Country for your orthopedic care. Contact us to learn more about how we can help with your sports injuries.