Skiing and snowboarding are a lot of fun, but they have the potential to be incredibly dangerous activities as well. Hitting the snow wrong can turn a day of fun out on the slopes into an injury that leaves you sitting on the sidelines for days or weeks (or longer) as you heal. If you love to play in the snow, make sure you are aware of the potential injuries you may face. Here are some of the most common injuries orthopaedists see as a result of skiing and snowboarding.
Historically, carpal tunnel syndrome has primarily been attributed to overuse/repetitive motion of the wrist and/or hand. However, it’s felt that, from some patients, carpal tunnel syndrome is more congenital in nature, meaning that some individuals are simply born with smaller carpal tunnels. This means that the median nerve and tendons (which is what allow your fingers to move) pass through a narrow passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel which is much smaller for some people.
Sprains occur when you tear or stretch a ligament. If the joint remains stable, you’ll be diagnosed with a mild sprain. The sprain is moderate if the ligament has a slight tear, creating instability in the joint. Severe sprains are diagnosed when the ligament tears and is no longer connected to the bone. This makes it impossible for the joint to function.
Stress fractures are small, incomplete breaks to the bone. These fractures present as small cracks in the bone, and while the break is small, a stress fracture is still very uncomfortable. If you have a stress fracture, you are likely experiencing pain, weakness, and swelling. Your symptoms might be mild or severe, depending on the location of the stress fracture.
Since the bones, ligaments and connective tissue of the carpal tunnel are rigid, there is little room for expansion. Whether it’s the ligaments and bones creating the carpal tunnel or the ligaments and nerves running through it, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when one for the parts involved becomes inflamed, narrowing the passageway and cause pain and discomfort in the area by placing pressure on the median nerve.
Individuals suffering from conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes are more vulnerable to developing trigger finger. Individuals that work in certain industries that require heavy use of their hands, such as farmers, musicians, and industrial workers, are also at greater risk. Additionally, women are more susceptible to the condition than men.
A stable, or healthy and uninjured thumb is extremely important for both pinching and grasping. “Jamming” or spraining your thumb causes an injury to the main ligament in the thumb, aka, the ulnar collateral ligament. A ligament is a soft tissue that connects two bones and helps create a stable joint. Tearing this ligament can not only cause pain and lack of mobility, but can also cause your ability to pinch and gasp to become weak and/or non-existent.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition that is characterized by symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arm, hand, and fingers. Simply stated, these symptoms are caused by a pinched nerve, with CTS being the most common condition of its kind. In the majority of individuals affected by this condition, the symptoms worsen over time. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to long-term wrist health, so it is important that you visit a doctor for evaluation if you suspect that it affects you.