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Planning for Common Cold Weather Sports Injuries

Insight from a Leading San Francisco ACL Surgeon and Ski Doctor

Hitting the slopes for the winter break? During the holidays, an ACL surgeon or ski doctor may experience an increase in wounded patients who are injured after taking a trip to the mountains. Exercising in cold weather adds extra strain to muscles and makes the body more susceptible to injury. When you fail to follow basic precautionary measures, you can inflict serious harm on yourself. If you want to engage in cold weather sports this winter, plan ahead and protect your body from the environment to avoid emergencies.


Most cold-related injuries can be prevented with the application of the right clothing and practicing the proper warm-up and cool-down routines. Although, even when these steps are followed, there is no guarantee of 100% protection. Common injuries related to cold weather happen when the body drops below a healthy temperature, which causes the muscles to shrivel. The injuries include:

Sprains and strains: When the muscles are cold, the connective tissues have less elasticity and are more susceptible to harm. Falls become more common in cold conditions, as does the likelihood of soft tissue injuries. A knee injury skiing doctor will often have to treat ligaments and muscles around the knee that were injured during falls on the snow.

Blisters: Wet socks with wrong fitting footwear can lead to blisters on the toes, feet, and heels.

Hypothermia: This occurs when the core temperature of the human body drops below 95 °F. Symptoms may include shivering, drowsiness, and lack of coordination. If not treated properly, a person suffering from hypothermia might lie down to rest, slip into unconsciousness, and die. If you or anyone you know appears to be suffering from hypothermia, stop and see a doctor immediately.

Frostbite: Frostbite happens when the tissues of the skin freeze. Ice crystals prevent the movement of blood through the fine blood vessels, which thus keeps the skin deprived of oxygen and nutrients until it dies.

Head Injury: Snow sports are high-impact and high-speed. When impacts occur to the head, it often leads to serious consequences. If you or a loved one receives a head impact, see a doctor immediately.

Treatment for Winter Sports Injuries at the Finest Bay Area Sports Medicine Practice

Make your next snow trip a safe one by planning ahead, preparing your body adequately, and wearing the proper equipment. If you have additional questions about the things needed to prepare for your next adventure in the extreme cold, contact your local snow, ski, snowboard, knee, and torn rotator cuff doctor at IASM. Call us today at (415) 923-0944!

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