Common Orthopedic Injuries in the Winter

Common Orthopedic Injuries in the Winter

by Yenny (SU)

Oh what fun it is to go outside and enjoy the snow and ice in the winter! Whether you’re skiing, ice-skating, sledding, or even just shoveling snow or walking on an icy sidewalk, wintertime is definitely an injury-prone time of the year. 

Let’s talk about some of the injuries that orthopedic doctors frequently treat during the winter season, and where you can go for expert advice and treatment so you can get back on the ice and slopes as quickly as possible after an injury.

Common Wintertime Musculoskeletal Injuries

Some of the most common orthopedic injuries that doctors treat every winter include the following:

Skier’s Thumb 

If you fall while holding onto a pole when skiing, your thumb joint’s ligament can become hyperextended – so the thumb is bent away from the other fingers. This is called skier’s thumb. Its symptoms include pain, swelling, and bruising in and around the thumb area, and it warrants attention and treatment by an experienced orthopedic physician who knows exactly how to treat this winter injury. 

Joint Dislocation 

If you participate in winter sports or activities, your hands and shoulders are particularly susceptible to suffering a dislocated joint. Plus, when you’re walking in slippery areas, your hips, knees, and elbows are also at risk of experiencing a dislocation if you slip and fall.

Symptoms of a dislocated joint include the following:

●      Swelling

●      Discoloration/bruising

●      Intense pain

●      Sudden immobility

●      Visible deformity 

If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor within 24 hours for a medical evaluation. If a dislocation is left untreated, it can lead to complications such as muscle tears or damage to the nerves and blood vessels. 


When you suddenly twist your ankle when stepping on slippery surfaces or while playing winter sports, you probably have a sprained ankle. A sprain is when a ligament – which connects two bones to each other in a joint – becomes stretched, partially torn, or fully torn.

A sprain can happen to any joint in the body, but it most commonly occurs in the ankles. While playing winter activities, though, you can also easily get a sprain in your knee or wrist. 

The symptoms of a sprain include swelling, pain, and bruising. A severe sprain can also cause you to be unable to move the joint, and this warrants medical treatment. Do not try to diagnose and treat this injury yourself, because otherwise the tear may not heal properly.


When you overstretch or tear a muscle or a tendon (which connects a muscle to a bone), you will get a strain. This condition is characterized by intense pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area. Just like with a sprain, a severe strain can cause immobility – and it demands a doctor’s attention.

Winter Injury Treatment in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee

Our board-certified orthopedic doctors here at Watauga Orthopaedics can help you prevent musculoskeletal injuries this winter. If you do suffer an injury, we are here to help you heal quickly so you can get back to enjoying wintertime fun. We have three clinics located in Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol for your convenience.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our world-class orthopedists, contact us today by calling us at (423) 282-9011 or complete our online form now. Let us help you heal your orthopedic injuries and be healthy this winter season!