Winter is coming and along with it snow, holidays and significantly increased physical activity. Children and adults are more and more willing to do winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding. Holidays are for many people the so-called "White madness". Although it is a beautiful time that can clarify our family relationships at the same time, we must remember the possibility of injury associated with this type of sport. Most lovers of winter entertainment throughout the year are not physically active and skiing is sometimes a heavy burden for an untrained organism. When we are not used to effort, we get tired faster, we become less attentive, which contributes to falls and injuries. Every year, thousands of people return from winter holidays with severe bruises, sprains, fractures or other types of injury.


One of the most common sports injuries is severe bruising, and although it is potentially harmless, it can cause swelling, pain, hematomas under the skin, and limited mobility of the injured joint or muscle. What should you do then? First aid involves immobilization of the limb with a temporary elastic dressing, followed by cooling the contusion area with a cold compress. It can be ice, but necessarily wrapped with a cloth, because of the possibility of frostbite of the skin, or a cooling spray. In the presence of hematoma, in the following days cooling compresses should be replaced with warming ones (then a hot water bottle becomes useful) in order to accelerate the healing of the hematomas. You can additionally use arnica ointment and a gel containing heparin or escin. If swelling and pain occur, topical analgesics and vasoconstrictors, available in the form of creams, ointments and gels, should be used.


During winter physical activity, trauma in the form of twist often occurs. Most often it concerns the ankle or knee joint. In this situation, the physiological range of motion in the joint is exceeded, which results in damage to the joint capsule, ligaments, articular cartilage, and sometimes also damage to tendon attachments. The most common ailments are severe pain, swelling and even hematoma. It is impossible to move. First aid in twists requires immobilization of all bones forming the joint by using an elastic band or stabilizer. It is also worth applying a cold compress to the victim, e.g. ice wrapped with a cloth to reduce swelling. Placement in a sling in upper limb injury is important in first aid to reduce pain and immobilize the joint.

Ligament rupture

A more serious damage is the rupture of the ligaments in the joint. It usually affects the knee ligaments. Such an accident is usually accompanied by a feeling of "knee escaping" combined with severe pain and the inability to move. In this situation, it is advisable to quickly apply a cold compress, immobilize the joint and transport the person to the hospital as soon as possible. There, an ultrasound of the joint will be performed and the doctor will decide what to do next.


The last injury to be discussed is fracture. The most common general symptoms of bone disruption are pain that increases when trying to move, deformity, and the non-physiological positioning of a given limb or body part. In the case of an open fracture, external hemorrhage may also occur. It is worth to note that internal hemorrhage is also possible, because large arteries run along the long bones, which may break when broken. When we suspect a fracture, first aid will involve immobilizing the damaged area in two adjacent joints. It is worth paying attention to first assess the safety and general condition of the patient. If external hemorrhage occurs, it must be stopped before immobilizing the fracture. For immobilization, you can use specialized equipment (rails, scarves, slings) or makeshift temporary measures. Before immobilizing the area, protect it with a dressing. Remember that you must not oppress the area where there are symptoms indicating the possibility of their ischaemia (bruising, pallor or lack of pulse). Detailed guidelines for fracture delivery are specific to different locations, but this applies to specialized medical personnel.

How to avoid injury?

Proper strength preparation and warm-up before physical activity are very important, however, the more frequent causes of accidents on the slopes are: bravado, too high speed - not adapted to the conditions and the number of people on the slope, incorrect assessment of your skills, fatigue and lack of imagination. In connection with the above, the Ski Federation has created its decalogue of rules indicating proper behavior on the slopes. According to it, every skier or snowboarder should:

  • do not create danger or harm to other people - it is not only about behavior, but also about the efficiency and proper functioning of the equipment,
  • adjust the speed and way of driving to your skills, type and condition of the route, weather conditions and traffic - this applies especially to places where the steep slope breaks, route ends and the area around the lifts,
  • choose the driving path so as not to cause danger to people in front of it - the "in front" has priority, driving behind others in the same direction you need to keep the right distance,
  • overtaking leaving enough space for an overtaken skier
  • look up and down the slope before driving to make sure that he does so without risk to himself and others
  • avoid stopping on the descent route in places of narrowing and with limited visibility and after falling in such a place remove yourself from the track as soon as possible,
  • walk only along the edge of the route
  • follow ski signs and route markings,
  • help victims
  • provide your personal details in the event of an accident.
  • FIS rules should be regarded as a model of ideal behavior aimed at avoiding accidents on ski runs. It is an obligation to become familiar with these rules and to comply with them, and in the event of non-compliance, the skier or snowboarder may be held liable in civil or criminal liability if an accident occurs.


    The basic method of treating bruises and sprains is to use cold compresses to reduce pain and swelling. In the case of severe pain, analgesics, anti-inflammatory and anti-edema medications are recommended, as well as not sustaining the sore spot. Rupture of ligaments or break in bone continuity are more serious injuries requiring medical intervention. Medical help is needed to set up the broken bone. Based on the X-ray picture, the doctor places the limb in a special splint or puts on a plaster cast, which allows the bone to be positioned correctly. Some fractures even require surgery. It should be remembered that after injury the limb is weakened and most often requires rehabilitation and exercise. It happens that the effects of the fracture are still felt many years after healing. In relation to the above, it should be concluded that it is worth increasing physical activity before winter madness, e.g. going to fitness or gym, which will allow us to strengthen the muscles and elements of the articular apparatus. You also need to follow safety rules and be wise.

    • European Funds - Smart Growth
    • Republic of Poland
    • European Union - European Regional Development Fund
    Przełącz na polski