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Feb 17, 2021
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Slippery topic. Protecting yourself from winter injuries

During a temperature swing, when it gets colder after a thaw, the risk of injury increases. However, bruises and fractures can be obtained not only at home, but also when doing winter sports. How to protect yourself?

Our expert – traumatologist-orthopedist, head of the department of hand surgery and reconstructive microsurgery Maxim Sautin

Anyone can fall unsuccessfully by slipping. But the risk of severe fractures is higher in older people. After all, the degree of injury often depends on the condition of the bone tissue. In severe osteoporosis, the bone breaks like glass, with the formation of more “fragments”. Therefore, people aged in ice should be especially careful. Young, but sedentary citizens are also in danger, because lack of movement leads to degenerative changes in the joints and ligaments, which increases the risk of sprains and ruptures of the ligaments.

Unsweetened “cheesecakes”

Winter is a space for many types of outdoor activities: skiing, snowboarding, skates, slides … And a huge variety of equipment makes winter sports more comfortable and safe. There are clothes that wick away moisture and provide warmth, and shoes that are lightweight, but at the same time create optimal contact with the surface.

However, if you choose the wrong equipment or overestimate your physical capabilities, do not own equipment and do not follow safety rules, you are not far from injuries. For example, this year there were a lot of difficult (and even tragic) cases in connection with riding on tubing (“cheesecakes”). Traumatologists do not approve of this accessory – it is almost impossible to control it, and you cannot fix it in it. And if you ride down steep high slides and on dangerous tracks, you can come to great trouble. It’s better to do it the old fashioned way – on a sled or on the fifth point.

Podiatrists are more loyal to skating and skiing, although these activities can potentially lead to injury. For example, when ice skating, people most often fall on the arm and damage the bones or ligaments of the upper limb. These injuries are often quite serious, although hidden – they do not make themselves felt immediately, but after some time.

Skis are safer. Although, if it’s downhill skiing, there is a high risk of falling, in which the main load falls on the knee joint. Ligaments are also often damaged – this happens with incorrectly adjusted bindings, when the lower leg fixed to the unfastened ski makes a circular turn around its axis.

Cross-country skiing is less traumatic, but if you fall, a ski pole can lead to a sharp abduction of the thumb and damage to important ligaments. Such an injury is called a “skier’s finger”.

General immobilization

But it is not always possible to “spread the straw” in time. In this case, it is important to act quickly and correctly. The most dangerous thing about any injury is to underestimate the consequences.

If pain persists, do not be lazy to see a doctor. In case of a leg injury – to a traumatologist, and in case of a hand injury – to a specialist in hand surgery. Doctors often have to deal with overlooked, old lesions, which are much more difficult to treat than fresh ones. Do not think that if the pains disappeared in a couple of days, the problem resolved itself. Some injuries, especially fractures of the small bones of the wrist, can take several months or even years to manifest themselves. Therefore, when receiving damage, it is imperative to undergo an examination and find out the cause of the pain, carrying out a high-quality diagnosis, which will allow prescribing the correct treatment. It is advisable to do this as early as possible after the injury.

If an accident occurred far from the city and there is no way to quickly get to a medical facility, it is important to remember about the rules of immobilization. It is recommended to fix the limb with improvised means and apply cold to the damaged area. The ice pack should not be in direct contact with the skin; it can only be applied through the fabric. And then you need to call an ambulance or take the patient to the hospital.

Crucial moment

With severe deformity of the limb, bone injuries are not excluded. In this case, the doctor may suggest emergency surgery to stabilize the fracture. Before anesthesia, the patient should not eat for 6–8 hours, water for 4–6 hours. Therefore, just in case, the victim after an injury should not be given anything to eat or drink until a doctor is examined.

You shouldn’t be afraid of surgery! The development of surgery and the emergence of new methods, in particular minimally invasive surgical techniques, led to the fact that traumatology began to abandon conservative methods of treatment in favor of surgical treatment. The sooner the patient gets the opportunity to walk on his own, removes the plaster cast from his hand or frees at least his fingers to work at the computer, the sooner he will return to society. Therefore, surgical treatment of fractures is more profitable, as well as easier and more comfortable for the patient, both physically and psychologically.

If earlier for surgery, for example on the meniscus (a small formation inside the knee joint), or for surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament (also in the knee), large incisions and difficult repairs were required for several months, now it is enough to make 2-4 small holes and through The operation will be performed in 1.5 hours. Previously, a fracture of the leg bones was treated for months, but today, after stabilization of the fracture, in some cases, the patient can step on the leg the very next day. This is especially important for elderly patients, for whom the lack of movement means an exacerbation of chronic diseases. The same principles apply to hands. In the arsenal of surgeons there are modern fixators and low-traumatic methods of treatment, including endoscopic methods of restoring the structures of the shoulder and elbow joints and even the joints of the hand.

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