Winter Activity Injuries: What Can Happen to Those Who Aren’t Careful Outdoors in the Cold
Who really likes winter weather?
Many people look forward to winter in the same way that they look forward to the summer, especially those living in areas where the weather changes dramatically. Sure, there are plenty of people that don’t like the snow or the cold, and simply wish that they could fast forward through the months where they are faced with these things… but there are others that live for the colder months and all of the activities that go along with them.
While activities like skiing, snowboarding, sledding and even something as simple as taking a quiet walk through a snowy neighborhood can be a great deal of fun, the colder weather and inclement conditions can create additional risk for injury, too. For this reason, it’s important to be mindful of the types of winter activity injuries that people can experience during the winter months – as well as what can be done to help people heal if they experience them.
Slipping and falling
This type of injury is the most common type of winter injury that people experience, and it can happen even when people are being careful. All it takes is a small patch of ice, and down a person will go! Parking lots, driveways, front steps – even inside of stores and buildings, there’s always going to be a risk for a person to slip and fall when there is water (or ice) present.
While many falls only result in a few moments of panic and no lingering injury, a hard fall might be different. Slipping and falling (even if you land on a ‘cushioned’ surface like snow or in the bushes) may result in muscle sprains or strains, bruising, scrapes or even broken bones. When this happens, it won’t just take a few minutes to recover… it can take days or weeks, and may even make it necessary to seek out actual medical care for diagnosis and treatment.
Injuries while playing winter sports
When people hear the phrase “winter sports”, they often only think of things like skiing and snowboarding, but organized team sports can result in injury, too. For example, hockey is the most popular winter sport, and even though players are covered almost head to toe in padding, injuries still happen. Bruises, bumps, knocked out teeth… even broken bones are things that these athletes simply accept as a possibility when they step out onto the ice and snow. The same goes for ice skaters, but since skating isn’t a contact sport, individual injury is much more likely.
Winter athletes commonly experience sprains and strains from simply practicing their sports, which is why regular check ups and closely monitoring their bodies is necessary. The healthier they stay, the better they’ll be at their sport of choice… and the advice of professionals from trainers to physical therapists can go a long way.
Accidents on the road
Winter months, even though they are filled with weather that is often less than ideal for travel, require a great deal of holiday travel. This leads to more people on the roads and an increased potential for accidents that can result in injury. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to slow down and decrease the risk to themselves and to others while on the road, which can lead to accidents. Many winter driving accidents are minor, and create only a slight inconvenience or some small body damage to the cars involved, but others are much more serious and can result in injuries – or even death.
In a moderate to severe car accident, it’s likely that the bodies of passengers inside of the vehicles will be harmed. This doesn’t always mean extended hospital stays, but it can necessitate the need to see therapists, doctors and even specialists in the case of injuries to the head and neck. While car accidents can happen at any time throughout the year, adverse weather conditions plus increased numbers of people on the roads can up the chances during winter months.
The unfortunate truth is that not all accidents and winter activity injuries can be prevented, even when people are careful. Winter is filled with new obstacles for people to navigate, and sometimes, things just happen. Luckily for those that experience injuries in the winter and need to seek out treatment in order to recover, it’s possible to work with trained professionals that specialize in increasing range of motion and improving overall health through a series of structured exercises and treatment plans.
If you find yourself needing the services of a physical therapy professional after a winter injury, get started by visiting the BetterPT Clinic Locator page or even download the BetterPT Physical Therapy appointment app. These resources can – and will – give you direct access to the right people so that you can begin (or help a loved one begin) the journey to better health as quickly as possible.