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How to prevent winter sports injuries

Updated: Jan 26, 2014 09:07 AM
© iStockphoto.com / Wojciech Gajda © iStockphoto.com / Wojciech Gajda
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SATURDAY, Jan. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Get out and enjoy winter but take steps to protect yourself from common ski- and snowboard-related injuries such as sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures, an orthopedist says.

"No matter your skill level, everyone is susceptible to injury on the slopes," said Dr. Allston Stubbs, an associate professor of orthopedics at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a center news release. "Most of these injuries happen at the end of the day, so you may want to think twice before going for 'one last run,' especially when you're tired."

He outlined a number of ways to reduce your risk of injury:

Keep in shape and condition your muscles. Warm up thoroughly before an activity. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury. Stay on the sidelines if you're exhausted or in pain.

Take lessons from a qualified instructor and never hit the slopes alone.

Wear several layers of light, loose and water- and wind-resistant clothing. Outfit yourself with all recommended protective gear, such as goggles, helmet and padding.

Your footwear should provide warmth, dryness and ample ankle support.

Drink plenty of water before, during and after activities.

If you have sore spots after an activity, apply an ice bag to those areas for 20 minutes and then remove it for a couple of hours. Repeat this a couple of times a day for one or two days.

"My advice isn't meant to take the fun out of winter sports. It's meant to help keep you on the slopes as much as possible," Stubbs said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers winter health and safety tips.

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