Skier on the mountain

When it comes to winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and ice hockey – or even activities like snow tubing, sled riding, or snowmobiling – injuries are always a factor. They’re often due to inexperience, improper equipment, snow conditions, and fatigue. And orthopaedic injuries aren’t the only consideration, as cold and harsh weather conditions can also be a concern.

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Mountain Sports

In skiing and snowboarding, injuries to the shoulders, forearms, and wrists are common and often caused by catching one’s fall. The knees are also a common injury given their constantly flexed position. Traumatic injuries are sometimes associated with advanced levels of these sports as well. To lower your chance of injury, be sure to:

  • Wear adequate protective equipment.
  • Maintain your skill level.
  • Warm up and condition appropriately.
  • Take breaks when you feel tired.

Rink Sports

Whether you’re skating for hockey, figure skating, speed skating, inline skating, or just skating for fun – well-fitted skates, conditioning, and proper protective equipment can help prevent common:

  • Recreational acute injuries from falls.
  • Competitive overuse injuries from repetition.

Fractures, lower back pain, and hand lacerations are common in ice skaters, coupled with sometimes more severe injury from collisions in ice hockey.

Recreational Activities

The fun recreational activities of winter can also yield some bumps and bruises. While snow tubing and sled riding cause the occasional abrasion or sprain, snowmobiling can be more dangerous because of the heavy equipment involved. You’ll also want to consider injuries from the cold like frostbite and hypothermia caused by:

  • Freezing temperatures.
  • Wind.
  • Humidity.
  • Inadequate or wet clothing.
  • Dehydration.

Safety Tips

Have fun and stay competitive during winter sports! But be sure to look out for yourself and others by:

  • Choosing clothing based on actual temperature and wind chill.
  • Warming up sufficiently and staying hydrated.
  • Applying petroleum jelly to face and lips to prevent chaffing.
  • Planning your route carefully and letting someone know where you’ll be.
  • Wearing bright colors and reflective clothing.
  • Keeping your workouts steady and continuous.

To learn more about sports safety or schedule an appointment for a winter sports injury, please visit our website or call 1-855-937-7678.

About Sports Medicine

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.