In these frigidly cold winter months, it’s tempting to spend every weekend hibernating indoors, spending hours binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix or staging your own movie-marathon from the comfort of your couch. Though that may sound cozy, you’re missing out on one of the best things winter weather has to offer: winter sports. Whether it’s a ski/snowboard trip far away or just a short day-trip to a local ice skating rink, these cold-weather sports provide an excellent outlet to get in shape while also having fun. However, there are a few simple tricks to keep in mind to make sure you’re finishing your day out with a cup of hot cocoa instead of a cast and crutches.
Ice-skating is a great cardiovascular workout and calorie-burning activity. On average, a 150 lb. person can burn up to 600 calories in just one hour while skating around the rink! However, that doesn’t come without risks. If you’re a beginner to ice-skating, you’re going to experience falls and more falls as a natural part of the learning process. Falling, especially on a hard and slippery surface like ice, can cause painful ankle sprains and/or ankle fractures. Even if you’re an ice-skating pro, you’re still subject to the occasional tumble and therefore at risk for sprains and fractures as well.
Skiing and snowboarding also provide a great workout, allowing you to burn thousands of calories in a couple of hours – however they come with the same risks. Whether you’re just learning these sports or you’re a seasoned winter athlete, our bodies are especially challenged when balancing on icy, snowy terrain. As with ice skaters, ankle sprains and ankle fractures are the two most common injuries to skiers and snowboarders. In fact, snowboarders have their own injury called a “snowboarder’s ankle” which is a fracture to part of the talus bone (a bone in the back of the foot that’s part of the ankle joint).
How Can These Injuries Be Prevented?
• Take Lessons: If you’re a beginner, the best way to prevent injuring yourself is to invest in a few lessons. These will teach you the proper way to perform your winter sport of choice and also show you the best way to fall to limit injuries.
• Wear the Right Boots: It is very important to wear the correct and properly-fitted boot for the sport .You want to make sure that your boots are snug and are laced/buckled up tightly to give your ankle strong support.
• Be Aware: One of the most common causes of falls on the slopes and in the rink is not being aware of the terrain or of others around you. When skiing and snowboarding, it’s very important to look uphill and yield to oncomers if necessary, in order to avoid a collision. It is also crucial to follow directions on any signs posted – they’re there for your protection and for the safety of others.
• Don’t Overdo It: Never try to imitate any of the extreme stunts you see on television. If you haven’t had much experience, there’s little chance you’ll be able to pull off the same moves you saw a certain Olympic athlete do without putting yourself at major risk for injuries. That’s why it’s important to always start out on an easier terrain with simpler moves and improve your skills gradually.
Get Injuries Checked-out Immediately: Even if you follow all the above tips, injuries from winter sports are not 100% preventable. If you have suffered a foot or ankle injury from a painful fall on the snow or ice, it’s important to have a doctor check it out immediately. Continuing to walk or play with an injury can cause further damage and significantly slow your healing process. Schedule your appointment with one of the podiatric physicians at the Advanced Foot and Ankle Care Center location nearest you to have you back out on the slopes or ice skating rink in no time!