Every four years, the greatest winter athletes combine years of training and preparation to compete against the best in the world to earn a spot on the podium. But, like the weekend warriors back home, they can experience injuries that affect their performance. Even sports like curling and ice dancing carry risks. Here are some of the most common injuries for winter Olympic sports.
- Shoulder dislocations from the athlete falling with their arms out, which places the force of the fall on their shoulder joint.
- Wrist injuries or fractures from the athletes falling on an outstretched hand.
Downhill skiing injuries
- Knee injuries because the amount of force and shock applied to one’s knees
Cross-country skiing injuries
- Knee and low back pain caused by the repetitive nature of this sport. Weak hip and core muscles, improper technique and training errors can also contribute.
- Illnesses – the common cold and pneumonia can have a huge impact on our elite-level athletes
- Low back and knee pain from throwing the stone.
- Concussions from falling backward on the ice.
- Hand or wrist injuries from breaking a fall, when falling forward.
Figure skating injuries
- Minor injuries such as lace-bite, blisters from ill-fitting boots.
- Stress fractures in the lower extremities from repetitive jumping or in the lumbar spine from flexibility requirements.
- Fractures, strains or concussion from falling while training or performing.
Ice dancing/pairs skating injuries
- Shoulder injuries from throwing and lifting their partner.
- Overuse injuries from relying on the upper body to lift and hold their partner.
Speed skating injuries
- Overuse injuries in the lower extremities, similar to figure skating.
- Minor injuries from skaters crashing.
- Knee injuries (MCL) from getting checked low by an opponent or catching a skate edge and twisting your knee.
- Cuts from skate blades.
- Foot or ankle bruises from getting hit by the puck.
- AC joint separation in the shoulders from a blow to the shoulder or a fall onto an outstretched hand.
Moguls skiing injuries
- Knee injuries such as ACL tears, knee cap dislocations and fractures from the repetitive motion that is so demanding on the body.
Ski jumping injuries
- Ligament (ACL or MCL) and meniscus tears from the knee sustaining most of the impact when landing.