Stay Injury-Free This Winter | Lemak Health

Winters in Birmingham, Alabama don't always result in snow, but aside from cold temperatures, ice, and the occasional snow flurry, Winter is the season in which people participate in adventurous winter sports activities like snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, and sledding. A few precautions can help ensure that you stay injury-free this winter while playing outside when winter weather rolls into town or when planning your winter vacation outdoor activities. If proper precautions aren't taken, a serious injury can occur.

Winter Sports Injury Prevention Tips

According to the 2017 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 220,000 winter sports-related injuries were reported. You don’t want to spend your winter vacation with a broken leg, sprained ankle, concussion, or dislocated shoulder. Lemak Health advises you to keep the following preventative measures in mind before participating in any winter sport or activity.

  • Warm-up and condition your muscles prior to participation in any cold weather activity. (A moderate warm-up and stretching route will prepare your body for physical activities. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.)
  • Be aware of pre-existing conditions that may affect your tolerance in cold weather. (Never participate with an injury and never ever participate alone.)
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. (Just because it is cold doesn’t mean you cannot become dehydrated.)
  • Wear protective clothing and gear including footwear, goggles, helmets, gloves, and padding. (Properly-fitted clothing and gear will help provide warmth and dryness, protect you from an injury and provide ample support.)
  • Make sure any equipment you use is not damaged. (Equipment that is unsafe could pose a hazardous situation.)
  • Avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages. (Consuming alcohol while engaging in winter sports causes dehydration and intoxication that is dangerous to you and others. An injury may not be as obvious if you are intoxicated.)
  • Don’t push your body beyond its physical limits. Avoid participation if you experience pain or exhaustion. Know your body’s limits and do not exceed your boundaries. 
  • Allow your muscles to recover during a cool-down period. A cool-down activity allows your body to return to its normal temperature.
  • Engage in post-activity stretching exercises. This will help maintain muscle balance while reducing muscle soreness.
  • Seek a medical professional if an injury occurs.
  • Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor. (Especially if participating in sports like skiing and snowboarding, learning how to fall correctly and safely can reduce the risk of injury.)

Also, early recognition and appropriate treatment for cold (and heat) illness are essential. Look for signs of vigorous shivering, muscle cramping, or irregular heartbeat.

Note: Temperatures can rise during the winter so be mindful to avoid heat cramps or exhaustion. Stay attentive of weather warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops or rises in temperatures.

As a leader in the sports medicine and orthopedics field, our focus is on redefining health and wellness for athletes, active professionals, and youth. We believe that the whole body cannot be healthy unless each part is healthy. With this as our guiding philosophy, we continue to deliver an outstanding healthcare experience. Lemak Health is committed to improving life after injury. We strive for nothing less than returning you to your pre-injury level of activity. We have an experienced team of specialized sports medicine physicians, expert orthopedic surgeons, certified athletic trainers, and physical therapists in all of our locations around the Greater Birmingham Area.

For more tips on how to stay injury-free this winter or to make an appointment, please contact us at (205) 453-7550 to request an appointment with Lemak Health or visit us on the web at www.LemakHealth.com