What To Do If You Suffer a Winter Injury This Season

ByJeremy I. Simon, M.D. WPVI logo
Friday, March 10, 2023

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Winter weather creates multiple hazards that can result in physical injury.

In it, the most routine activities such as walking and driving can become dangerous...not to mention the added risk of winter sports! If you or someone you love is wondering what to do if you suffer a winter injury, consult the guide below from the experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute.

Slip-and-fall Injuries

The most common winter slip-and-fall injuries are head trauma, broken or sprained ankles, and broken or sprained arms, hands or wrists. Of these, head trauma is the most severe. The most important thing to do if you suffer a winter head injury, is to get examined by a doctor immediately. Not every head injury is obvious or even visible; in the case of a closed-head wound, there is little or no outer physical evidence of trauma at all. In addition, symptoms of head trauma vary. Mild head injuries may induce a brief loss of consciousness, headaches, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting. More serious head injuries may manifest a prolonged loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, and seizures.

Broken bones and sprains are the other common injuries associated with slip-and-fall cases. Most of these injuries take at least a few weeks to heal. For both broken bones and sprains, the best immediate first aid is to immobilize the injury as you ice and elevate it to reduce swelling. Then get the patient to see a physician immediately.

Back Injuries

Back injuries can vary, but commonly, these injuries cause severe limitations to movement, and left untreated, the effects could become permanent. A physician will typically begin treatment with conservative measures such as ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. In the event that these do not work or the injury is more severe, surgery may be recommended.

Winter Sports Injuries

The majority of winter sports injuries are sprains and strains, knee injuries, lower leg fractures, shoulder dislocations, and injuries to the wrist and forearm. Most of these injuries are minor, but patients should immediately be transported to a medical facility for professional evaluation. As you are waiting for proper medical attention, try as much as possible to immobilize, ice, and elevate the injury.

While fewer in frequency, head injuries can also occur in winter sports and are often more serious. See the "Slip-and-Fall Injuries" section above for what to do if you suffer a winter sports-related head injury.

What To Do If You Suffer A Winter Injury And Forget Everything You Just Read?

The first step for anyone experiencing a winter activity-related injury or other complications should be to seek medical attention and consult their physicians. When you need more specialized treatment, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can help you decide which options are right for you.

Visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.