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How to prevent winter sports injuries

Posted Dec 21 2010 12:00am

San Francisco Chiropractor Comments:

How to prevent winter sports injuries If you are anything like me, you get excited about winter sports when the snow falls...and boy has it been falling this year...there is already a 15 foot base in Lake Tahoe.

There is nothing like the feeling of exercising in the snow. But along with all the fun and excitement comes the risk of both minor and serious injuries.

I am an experienced skier and I took a really bad fall my first day out. I was cruising along trying to wipe fog out of my goggles with my glove and crossed tips. I now know why so many people wear helmets (I wear one now).

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 350,000 people were treated in hospitals, doctor's offices and emergency rooms for winter sports-related injuries in 2009…Ouch!

So while winter sports are needs to be a priority (see below). 


-- Check the weather for snow and ice conditions prior to participating. Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature to ensure safety while outdoors. Skiers and snowboarders should make adjustments for icy conditions, deep snow powder, wet snow, and adverse weather conditions.

-- Dress for the occasion. Wear several layers of light, loose and water- and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows you to accommodate your body's constantly changing temperature.

-- Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding. Also, check that all equipment, such as ski and snowboard bindings are in good working order.

-- Skiers and snowboarders should buy boots and bindings that have been set, adjusted, maintained and tested by a ski shop that follows American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard job practices.

-- Never participate alone in a winter sport. If possible, skiers and snowboarders should go with partners and stay within sight of each other. If one partner loses the other, stop and wait. Also, make sure someone who is not participating is aware of your plans and probable whereabouts before heading outdoors.

-- Skiers and snowboarders should stay on marked trails and avoid potential avalanche areas such as steep hillsides with little vegetation.

-- Avoid sledding near or on public streets. Sledding should be done only in designated and approved areas where there are no obstacles in the sledding path. Speeding down hills in parks that are not designed for sledding puts you at risk to be hit by cars and trucks or slam into parked vehicles, curbs, and fences.

-- Sit in a forward-facing position when sledding and steer using your feet or the rope steering handles for better control of the sled.

-- Warm up thoroughly before playing. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.

-- The warm up should be a good 10 minutes of walking, slow jogging or working on the exercise bike. This is to help increase your heart rate and blood flow to your muscles.

Tips taken from the following blog post on : Skate, Slide and Glide Through Winter Injury-Free .

Dr. Eben Davis is a San Francisco Chiropractor and is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in the SF Financial District.


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