Winter is here and with it come the snow and ice. While many kids yearn for snow days and the chance to strap on ice skates or break out a sled, winter also brings with it a unique set of injuries.
The most common types of winter injuries are strains, sprains, dislocations, and fractures.
Protect yourself this winter by learning the most common types of injuries so you can prevent them.
Slip and Fall on Ice
Each winter activity brings its own fun and also its own risks for injuries. One of the most common types of winter injuries is the “slip and fall,” and every single person who takes a step outside during snowy months is at risk. Black ice is among the top causes for slips and falls because it is extremely smooth and slippery, more so than regular ice, and practically invisible. Additionally, black ice forms over all hard surfaces including roads and sidewalks, so a resulting fall is more dangerous due to the underlying surface being hard and frozen solid.
Another threat is driving on icy roads. There are far more car accidents in winter than any other time of the year, as drivers can’t stop or react properly on icy roads. Just trying to stop or dodge another vehicle often sends drivers into uncontrollable spins resulting in an accident. Exposure to the elements in itself can cause a variety of roadway and vehicle hazards.
Approximately 30 million children and teens participate in sports during the winter, and an average of 3.5 million suffer some type of injury. Dangerous winter sports include ice hockey, snow skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and sledding or tobogganing. Each sport has its unique set of risks, but any type of injury during the winter carries the associated dangers of cold weather – especially if by yourself out in the wilderness and unable to call for help. If you play these sports, you dramatically raise your chances of incurring a wintertime injury.
With its risk of falls, ice skating can lead to wrist and back injuries, along with stress fractures in ankles and feet. Hockey causes shoulder and back injuries, plus concussions and infamous dental injuries. Downhill sports like snowboarding and skiing cause injuries to the ankles and knees.
Lower temperature means it takes longer for blood to get flowing to muscles, so warming up is a critical part of any winter exercise to prevent injury. Always remember to warm up properly and cool down gradually following any type of winter sports to prevent muscle strain.
Even shoveling snow from your driveway is quite risky. It exerts tremendous strain on the shoulders and back, but more importantly, increases the risk of a heart attack. Shoveling snow increases the level of exertion, causing a person to breathe heavier through the mouth to keep oxygen levels high. The increased rate of respiration draws in cold air, causing blood vessels to constrict and even spasm, which reduces oxygen and blood flow to the heart.
Frostnip and frostbite occur when the body’s temperature drops so low that blood flow concentrates further away from extremities to protect core vital functions internally. If exposed to freezing or below freezing temperatures – whether indoors with no heat or outdoors with not enough protective clothing – frostbite of body parts leading to potential gangrene (tissue death) or limb loss is possible.
Urgent Care Expertise in Pennsylvania
If you or someone you know suffers an injury and needs immediate care – during the winter or any other season – the expert medical staff at Patient Care Now Urgent Care can help. We offer a full range of care for children and adults, plus specialized orthopedic care. We treat every condition except extreme, life-threatening injuries.