Winter is not just a season full of cold and gloomy days. On the contrary: With a whole new set of seasonal sports to try out, winter can also be fun and exciting.
However, snow sports and ice sports have their own set of risks, especially leg injuries. Before you set out to enjoy wintertime activities, first learn about the injuries that are most likely to happen so that you can practice preventive measures – and continue enjoying playing your sport of choice all winter long.
When you’re skiing or skating, you are prone to developing a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in the knee. When skiing, your knee twists to prepare for a jump – but the fixed-heel bindings can fail to release, your ski puts downward pressure on your knees, and it causes an ACL tear. Similarly, ice skating can invite awkward twists of the knee that can cause a torn ACL.
This injury manifests itself through a sharp popping sound and severe knee pain. This injury also tends to cause obvious knee instability.
A torn ACL may be treated through proper rest and elevation of the area, physical therapy, or surgery. Studies show that ACL tears usually heal after 6 to 8 weeks of rest, but your doctor may recommend therapy or surgery if the tear is severe or not responding to noninvasive treatments.
Another leg injury involved with winter sports, especially skiing and hockey, is an MCL (medial collateral ligament) tear. If you have a torn MCL, you may feel pain and notice swelling in your inner knee. You may also feel that the joint is stiff or wobbly. This injury can occur due to a sudden blow to the knee.
Depending on the extent of the tear, you can treat an MCL injury through medication, cold compress therapy, rehabilitative therapy, or wearing a brace. More severe MCL tears may need surgical treatment to regain function and mobility in your knee.
Ankle sprains are common in winter athletes who perform a lot of jumps and pivots, so ice skaters and snowboarders are familiar with this injury. Awkward landings, especially after a jump, can result in a sprained ankle.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can help to minimize the pain and discomfort of a sprained ankle. You will also need proper rest, icing, compression, and elevation (= the RICE method) to reduce swelling and encourage healing of the injured ligament. Crutches and physical therapy may also aid in your rehabilitation. Treatment for ankle sprains can also include surgical intervention, but that is rarely necessary.
Sports Doctors in St. Charles County, MO
Here at Advanced Bone & Joint, our orthopedic doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating sprains, strains, fractures, and other orthopedic injuries, including those that often occur while playing winter sports. Our healthcare providers specialize in sports medicine and use the latest technologies to help you heal as quickly as possible from your injuries.
We have locations in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Missouri, for your convenience. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, simply fill out our online request form or call (636) 229-4222. We look forward to helping you get back into the game!