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How to Treat These 5 Common Winter Injuries

  • Jan 3 2023

When you think of winter, chances are you picture skiing, ice skating, and fluffy white snow covering the neighborhood. But as fun and as beautiful as winter can be, it also brings an elevated risk of injuries. 

Ice and snow make seemingly easy terrain hard to traverse. While you can take steps to prevent winter falls, orthopedic clinics tend to see an influx of patients who injure themselves due to the weather. In addition to standard slips and falls, winter also means snow sports (and the injuries that come with them).  

This mix of poor conditions and somewhat dangerous winter sports means there’s an increased risk of injuries in the colder months. Read on to learn about the five most common winter injuries that require urgent treatment. 

Common Winter Injuries

Wrist (Distal Radius) Fracture

A Colles fracture is a type of wrist fracture involving the distal radius. This injury usually occurs when someone lands on an outstretched hand to break his/her fall. Distal radial fractures can also happen during skiing, snowboarding, or other falls. Such fractures are one of the most common winter injuries, and in most cases can be treated by a splint for distal radius fractures.

Hand Fractures

Hand fracture is a broad term that encompasses many different types of fractures. With 27 bones in each hand connected by joints and ligaments, there are a lot of things that can go wrong in the hand! Most hand fractures are a result of a slip or fall. However, they can also occur during snowsports accidents. 

Skier in red jacket falls as he descends a ski slope.

Most fractured hands can be treated with the application of a simple waterproof cast. However, some hand fractures may require surgery if there is damage to the joints or if the bone can’t align. If you suspect that you have a hand fracture, always see a medical professional to get it diagnosed and treated. 

Finger Fractures

Finger fractures are a type of hand fracture that can occur in any of the 14 phalanges, also known as finger bones. Finger fractures can be painful and have severe consequences if not treated properly. Without the correct medical treatment soon after the injury, you can permanently impair finger function. 

Untreated finger injuries may result in stiff fingers, damage to capillaries, or hand deformity. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may require a splint, cast, or surgery. 

Ankle Fracture

Broken ankles are among the most common winter injuries. These fractures often occur when the ankle bones sustain an injury from a fall or twist. Because of the slippery nature of winter terrain, slips and twists are much more common in winter than in the summer months. 

Woman falls on an ice skating rink.

Some common ankle fractures include stress fractured ankle, hairline fractured ankle, stable ankle fractures, and unstable ankle fractures. Usually, surgery is necessary to achieve proper alignment during the healing process for more serious breaks.

Metatarsal Stress Fracture

The metatarsal bones are the bones in your foot that connect your toes to your ankle. They are long and thin, which makes them very susceptible to fractures. 

Metatarsal stress fractures are common winter injuries due to an increase in risky activities, such as ice-skating, skiing, or snowboarding. Also a common snow shoveling injury, metatarsal stress fractures can be very painful and may require surgery to heal correctly. However, most metatarsal stress fractures will heal solely with enough rest.  

Man in orange work pants shovels a sidewalk to remove the snow.

Getting the Wintertime Orthopedic Treatment You Need

Injuries should not keep you from enjoying your winter and all the fun activities that come with the season. However, getting timely orthopedic treatment for injuries is essential to keeping you on the ice, on the slopes, or with your family. 

Whether you have a snow shoveling injury, skiing injury, snowboarding injury, ice skating injury, or anything in between, do not hesitate to have it examined by one of our highly-trained orthopedic specialists. Click here to make an appointment and return to the winter spirit as quickly and safely as possible. 

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Posted in: General & Pediatric Orthopaedic Care