Professor Lennard Funk, shoulder surgeon at The Wilmslow Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK, tells us about the most common shoulder injuries, what to do if you are injured and how best to avoid injury whilst enjoying your favourite winter sports.
Whilst snow and cold weather encourages many of us to stay indoors – particularly when it comes to exercise – those who enjoy skiing and snowboarding can’t wait to hit the slopes. But, enjoyable as winter sports are, slippery conditions, heavy equipment and speed on the slopes can often lead to injury, with shoulder injuries being amongst the most common, especially for beginners.
What are the most common shoulder injuries?
Your shoulder joint is a lot more mobile than your other joints, so it’s easier for it to slip out of place. Snowy and icy conditions inevitably lead to falls, often at speed, so the risk of dislocated shoulders is quite high; either from using your arms to break a fall or landing on a hard surface, like ice.
A torn rotator cuff is another common shoulder injury, caused by repetitive strain or because of a fall and often occurring at the same time as a dislocated shoulder.
What’s the best way to avoid these injuries?
Taking simple precautions, like wearing appropriate safety gear, warming up properly, staying hydrated, knowing your limitations, getting lessons and, particularly in the case of shoulder injuries, learning how to fall properly, can greatly reduce your risk of injury. A trained instructor will be able to provide direction on how to fall correctly based on your winter sport of choice.
What should I do if I injure myself?
If you have a fall, particularly if you think you have dislocated your shoulder, which will be very painful, you must seek help immediately; a delay in care can lead to a f rozen and totally immobile shoulder in more severe cases. If you dislocate your shoulder, the joint will need to be put back into place by an orthopaedic doctor. It usually takes around 14 weeks for the shoulder to heal once the joint is back in place. Torn rotator cuffs are usually treated with a combination of physical therapy and injections to relieve pain.
When accidents happen…
We hope you stay safe this winter, but if you do have an accident, the first step is to get help immediately. The second step is to find the best treatment for your injury.
If you have a winter sports injury, are concerned about any new injury or pain or have an ongoing issue, come and see us for expert diagnosis and treatment. At The Wilmslow Hospital, we specialise in the assessment, treatment and management of all musculoskeletal conditions.
To find out more, or to arrange a consultation with a leading orthopaedic consultant
Call: 01625 545 000