Local orthopedic doctor: Tips to avoid winter sports injuries
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When we’ve had as much snow as we’ve had recently, naturally you’ll want to ski or snowboard but it can be rough on your body.
In fact, Dr. Dustin Richter, the associate professor of orthopedic surgery at UNM Hospital, says hitting the slopes can increase your risk of serious injuries.
“The main ski injuries that we see are knee injuries. Those can be injuries to your ligaments, like your ACL or your MCL, or your meniscus,” Dr. Richter said.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, there are more than 200,000 winter sports injuries each year.
With every slip, trip or fall, the risk of a major injury increases.
“If it’s a bigger injury, like to their knee ligaments, this can be a year. Some of the ones that ski competitively, those are like high-speed motor vehicle collisions, the energy that they see on the mountain and they can have broken bones of their thigh bone or their leg bone. And those similarly can be a six-to-12-month recovery,” the doctor said.
What can we do to prevent that from happening? Dr. Richter recommends the following:
- Don’t ski out of your comfort zone
- Follow the signs
- Be aware of the people around you.
If you’ve ever had cramps on the slopes, he says staying hydrated and waiting to drink until the end of the day can help.
Whether it’s a helmet, skis or slopes, you’ll always want to make sure your gear is in good condition.
“40 years ago, when I started skiing, no one wore helmets and no one had anything protective out there. Now, it’s pretty rare to see a person without a helmet out on the ski slopes,” Dr. Richter said.
Accidents can happen but the doctor says, if you follow all of these steps, you’ll decrease your chances of ending up crossed up in an orange fence.