Winter is the time that some sports enthusiasts really look forward to, when they can enjoy skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, and more. However, winter is also the time when orthopedists see many injuries related to those very sports.
According to Dr. Angelo Ciminiello, sports medicine specialist at Danbury Orthopedics, with offices in Danbury, Ridgefield and Southbury, the most common injuries he sees this time of year are torn ACLs from skiers, broken or fractured wrists from snowboarders and skaters, and many concussions.
He recommends always wearing a helmet for any of these winter sports, since this simple step can prevent a serious concussion. To prevent against broken wrists, he suggests using a specialized glove with a wrist guard built in, which can help prevent a fracture. Wearing mouth guards and other protective equipment when playing hockey is also a must.
For skiers, Ciminiello recommends that the bindings be appropriate for your weight and height so they will disengage when needed. A torn ACL occurs when the foot is planted and the knee is turned. If the bindings release your foot after a fall, you are less likely to tear the ACL.
How do you know if you’ve torn your ACL? “You usually hear a pop in the knee, followed by swelling and pain when putting weight on the knee. If that happens, see an orthopedic specialist immediately,” Ciminiello advises. The same holds true for a broken wrist. If you have swelling after a fall and are unable to use the hand properly, see an orthopedist. “Do not take a wait-and-see attitude, since immediate treatment will result in a much more successful recovery,” he adds.
Stretching, too, is important for all winter sports. Athletes who play winter outdoor sports are often cold before they begin playing, so stretching the muscles helps warm them up and prevents hamstring pulls and other injuries. This includes winter outdoor runners, too. Another tip: “If you are shoveling snow, be sure to bend at the knee to avoid back strain and pulls,” Ciminiello explains.
Danbury Orthopedics, an affiliate of OrthoConnecticut, treats more than 2,000 sports injury cases each year — from ACL and rotator cuff surgeries to complicated multi-ligament injuries to tendinitis. It is also at the forefront of concussion management.
The Sports Medicine Center at Danbury Orthopedics is dedicated to the complete care of the athlete — from professional, collegiate and high school athletes to recreational and youth players and weekend warriors. The practice specializes in sports injury treatment and rehabilitation through both surgical and non-surgical techniques. The team of four fellowship-trained sports medicine specialty orthopedic surgeons includes Dr. Michael G. Brand, Dr. Angelo Ciminiello, Dr. J. Albert Diaz, and Dr. Ross Henshaw. They are the team physicians for Bethel, Danbury, Joel Barlow, Ridgefield, Immaculate, and Newtown high schools, and for the Danbury Titans hockey team and Western Connecticut State University football program. Walk-in orthopedic urgent care services for injuries are also available at the group’s OrthoCare Express location at 226 White Street in Danbury, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Visit dortho.com for more information.