Many people are starting to resume their favourite winter sports. These recreational sporting activities include both individual as well as team sports such as ice hockey, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross country skiing. Due to the nature of these sports, they have been linked with a higher incidence of injury. In particular, there is a high risk of damage to the meniscus and cruciate ligaments in the knee. Each year many people require medical attention following knee injuries whether that be from collisions or overexertion.
Types of Winter Sports Knee Injuries
Research has suggested that knee injuries are the most common soft tissue injury relating to winter sports. Although they are less prevalent compared to sports such as football, the severity of the injury in winter sports can be much higher.
The musculoskeletal system which is made up of bones, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and cartilage is the most common site to suffer from damage. This could include sprains, dislocations, fractures along with cuts and grazes.
One of the most common winter sports injuries is damage to the anterior cruciate or collateral ligaments. This often happens during a twisting motion.
Tips To Avoid Knee Injuries
Fortunately, most winter-related injuries can be prevented with appropriate planning, preparation and the correct equipment. Although there is no way that you can completely rule out the risk of injury, there are several things that may help to prevent an injury.
Improving your stamina can allow you to ensure that you have enough energy to perform sustained physical exertion required for these sports. It will help you to feel less tired and exhausted, preserving your energy to ensure that you are able to consistently perform a safe technique.
It is also vital that you spend time warming up before engaging in winter sports. Muscles, tendons and ligaments are all prone to damage when they are cold. It is advisable to increase your warm up time. Additionally, make sure that you cool down correctly following exercise by stretching. Certainly, this could help to prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness also known as DOMS.
Staying hydrated throughout the day by regularly drinking water is advised. Particularly as water plays a part in ensuring the optimum function of muscles, joints and blood vessels. When dehydration occurs, a loss of coordination and muscle fatigue can develop. Furthermore, it is best to abstain from alcohol so that you stay in control.
First Steps Following an Injury
In the unfortunate event of an injury, you must seek immediate medical attention. A trained medical professional can assess the severity of the injury. Many low-grade injuries affecting the soft tissue can be treated with the ‘RICE’ method. This abbreviation for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation is advised as first-line treatment. It will collectively help to support the injured joint and prevent additional swelling.
ACL Reconstruction Surgery
As previously mentioned, a common injury when skiing is damaging your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is an important stabiliser of the knee which fortunately can be reconstructed through surgery. The procedure involves using the hamstring tendons to fashion into a new ligament. This is positioned in the knee using minimally invasive telescopic surgical methods.
Following this procedure, a physiotherapy programme is followed in order to ensure the knee is able to gain strength and perform a full range of movements. Read Sarah’s story here – first-hand patient experience following a skiing accident and her journey to recovery through the help of Mr Shah Punwar and his dedicated team.
Although serious knee injuries can feel debilitating, with the right specialist help and interventions it is possible to make a complete recovery. If you have concerns about ACL injuries and would like to consult with Mr Punwar, please call us on 020 8194 8541 or email Punwar.firstname.lastname@example.org