How to Avoid Ankle Injuries in Winter Sports

Winter sports are enjoyed by many outdoor enthusiasts and yet every winter, there are many avoidable sport injuries, especially injuries to the ankle. Ankle injuries include tendon injuries, ligament sprains, dislocation and fractures. Let’s explore some of the most common winter sports ankle injuries.

Ankle Injuries When Snowboarding

Beginner snowboarders are those who are the most frequently injured, in fact, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians(AAFP), almost one quarter of all injuries occur the first time the person tries snowboarding. After the wrist, the ankle is the most frequently injured body part. Studies by the AAFP indicate that soft boots give snowboarders almost twice the risk of injury compared to hard boots.

There is a type of fracture that occurs in this sport referred to as the snowboarders’ ankle. This is a fracture of the lateral process of the talus and this is difficult to see on a standard X-ray. This fracture can affect almost 15 percent of snowboarding ankle injuries that require medical attention.

Snowboarding Ankle Injury Prevention

Getting out there and having fun is important, but it’s really important to know your limits. Studies show first time snowboarders are at greater risk for injury, so regardless of age, taking it easy is important and having a lesson or two from snowboarding professionals is a great strategy in preventing injury.

Ankle Injury in ice Skating

According to the Ontario Injury Compass, every year more than 5,000 people find themselves in an emergency department due to an ice skating injury. The good news is that about 94 percent of these people do not require being admitted. Lower limb injuries, including the ankle, occur to 21 percent of those injured.

Ice skating Ankle Injury Prevention

What is very important is to have a pair of skates that fit properly. proper ankle support is crucial when ice skating. Otherwise the window to possible injury is opened. While skating, the skating gait and your posture is important; without good posture and a balanced gait,undue stress is being applied to the ankles as well as other areas of the body. Be aware of your surroundings; watch for obstacles and other people, especially unsupervised children as their movement can be unpredictable therefore causing you to move in such a way that causes you an injury. Knowing and staying within your limits is a good rule to follow in order to prevent injury.

Ankle Injury associated with Skiing

The good news is that with the development of improved ski equipment, skiing techniques, and slope grooming, incidents of ankle injury has decreased. Ankle fractures, tendon dislocations and ankle sprains can all occur should a skiing accident happen. Cross country skiers are more susceptible to ankle injuries due to the nature of the equipment.

Skiing Ankle Injury Prevention:

Downhill or cross country skiers need to ensure their equipment is always in good condition and properly sized. Bindings need to be tested every year before hitting the slopes or the trails. Always make sure proper sunglasses or goggles are used otherwise a moment of vision impairment can result in an accident If you are a cross country skier tempted to go down hills that are dangerous, try not to, especially in forested areas. As with snowboarding or ice skating, be aware and stay within your limits, especially if the slopes or trails are busy.

We suggest that anyone who engage in these or other athletic activities to stretch your muscles before starting. There is a lot of conflicting research out there suggesting that stretching may not prevent injury. Regardless, stretching is a good habit to get into before any activity. hopefully your winter activities bring you lots of enjoyment; however, should you unfortunately succumb to an injury, a good physical therapy care can get you back on the ice before you know it.

[Article by Dr. Behfar Sanjari, BHSc, Bsc, DC, RAc; Chiro-Med Rehab Centre, 10144 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, Contact Information – Phone: 905.918.019]

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