Top 5 Minor Injuries to Watch Out for this Winter

Woman after twisting her ankle

It's important to take extra care while partaking in any outdoor activity. Unfortunately, minor injuries occur more frequently during winter as the weather begins to worsen. Below are some of the most common minor injuries Affidea are presented with in their ExpressCare clinics.

1. Ankle / Foot Injury

Ankle injuries are becoming increasingly common, particularly amongst sportspeople. Many athletes suffer with sprained ankles, which occurs when the foot twists or rolls while in motion, leading to a tear in the the ligaments of the ankle. Ankle injuries can be particularly debilitating and can take a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks and up to 6 months to heal, depending on the severity of the injury. It is best to always run on a flat, smooth surface in order to prevent an ankle injury from occurring, while it important to wear shoes which offer adequate support.

2. Wrist Injury

Wrist injuries generally occur when the ligaments of the wrist area, including the ligaments connecting the carpal bones and the ligaments connecting the proximal row of carpal bones with the radius and the ulna. Wrist sprains are graded from 1 to 3. 

  • Grade one: Mild sprain with ligaments stretched but not torn

  • Grade two: Moderate sprain with some ligaments torn

  • Grade three: Severe sprain with complete tear of ligaments

Mild wrist sprains can be dealt with at home using the rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) principles, while a wrist support may be needed for moderate sprains to help the ligaments settle. Caution should be taken while walking or running to prevent wrist injuries from occurring, Mild wrist sprains usually take 1 to 2 weeks to heal fully.

Woman with a sprained wrist

 3. Knee Injury

Like ankle injuries, knee injuries are becoming increasingly common among athletes competing at all levels. Knee injuries can also be caused by growth spurts and normal wear-and-tear. Knee problems can be the cause of a variety of symptoms including pain, stiffness and swelling. Common knee problems include sprained or strained ligaments, cartilage tears, tendonitis and arthritis.  A sprained or strained knee ligament is typically caused by a blow to the knee or a sudden twist of the knee. In severe causes, surgery may be needed to repair any damage caused to the ligaments of the knee. Such injuries can be prevented by incorporating multiple types of physical training including strength, plyometric, and core conditioning. For minor knee sprains or strains, the recovery time is generally 2 to 4 weeks.

4. Finger Injury

Finger injuries can also be classed as soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue refers to muscles, ligaments and tendons that surround and support the joints. Injuries to the soft tissue surrounding the fingers joints are usually caused by a forceful stretch or direct blow, for example when playing sports. This type of injury may result in pain, swelling, stiffness or loss of function. It is important to follow the principles of RICE in the first 72 hours after the injury occurs. Soft tissue injuries usually take 6 weeks to heal and exercises can be done to help improve strength.

5. Skin Infection

Skin infections occur when bacteria infect the skin and sometimes the deep tissue beneath the skin. Cellulitis is a common type of skin infection which causes redness, swelling, and pain in the infected area. A cut or break in the skin can allow bacteria to enter, which can ultimately lead to an infection. It is important that you see a doctor if you have symptoms as some skin infections can spread. Skin infections can be prevented by cleaning hands often and washing cuts with soap and water.

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