Winter Sports Injury Prevention Tips

The weather may be getting colder, but many athletes are warmed up for winter sports. Injuries don’t have seasons, so it’s important to understand how to take care of your body to prevent them.

Skiing & Snowboarding

When you are speeding down a hill, there are all kinds of hazards. Your head, knees and arms are all at risk of injury during this activity. To help reduce your risks, follow safety tips including:

  • Make sure you have learned the proper form and technique
  • Ensure your gear is properly fit
  • Choose ski runs that match your ability
  • Drink lots of water and stay hydrated
  • Don’t push yourself if you are tired
  • Wear a helmet
  • Stretch before skiing
  • If you do begin to fall, go with the momentum of your fall and avoid using your arms to break your fall


As with skiing, sledding dangers are related to going at a high rate of speed down a hill. Most of the injuries that happen from sledding are from running into objects and falling off the sled. Concussion is the most common injury along with contusions and broken bones. A few sledding safety tips include:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Make sure your path is clear
  • Be sensible with your speed and the sledding location
  • Sit in a forward-facing position to control the steering – sledding head first is not a safe choice
  • In the evening, only sled in well-lit areas
  • Dress in layers for extra protection and warmth

Ice Hockey

Hockey is considered a collision sport. Injuries can happen from contact with other players, the stick, the puck and the boards. Injuries that can occur include sprains, strains, tears, fractures, dislocations, concussions, muscle pulls, broken teeth and spine injuries. With an extensive list of potential injuries, it is imperative to take precautions. Here are a few tips:

  • Ice hockey requires protective equipment, be sure that it fits properly and is not damaged
  • Have basic ice-skating skills mastered such as skating both forward and backward
  • Be in good physical condition at the start of hockey season
  • Always take the time to warm up and stretch
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water
  • Understand the rules of ice hockey and play safe
  • Injuries should be assessed and treated as soon as possible
  • Avoid leading with your head if you are about to collide
  • Cool down and stretch after a game or practice to help reduce the risk of muscle pulls

Ice Skating

Ice skating is enjoyed by many in neighborhood rink outings to competitive figure skating. Ankle sprains and fractures, wrist injuries, head injuries and ACL tears are some of the frequently reported injuries in this sport. You can help increase your safety while ice skating by:

  • Making sure your skates fit properly
  • Stretch and warm up your muscles
  • Learn the correct form and pay attention to your balance and posture
  • Don’t attempt difficult tricks if you haven’t been trained
  • Be careful of chips in the ice and other hazards
  • Avoid putting your hands out when you’re falling to protect your hands and wrists
  • If you are not a strong ice skater, wear a helmet to protect your head

Although winter sports injuries are common, they are also preventable. Following safety principles like these will help you to prevent injuries and still have fun. Speak with a sports medicine physician if you’re injured or have any concerns about injuries or preventing them. Request your appointment online or call Miller Orthopedic at 712-323-5333.

Miller Orthopedic Specialists
Miller Orthopedic Specialists

Specializing in a wide range of orthopedic services enables Miller Orthopedic Specialists to provide personalized care plans that get patients back to optimum health.

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