Winter’s Almost Here – Common Ski Injuries
Two of the world’s most popular winter sports are skiing and snowboarding. Despite being the most popular, they are also two of the most dangerous. Injuries are almost an inevitable part of skiing since you can reach speeds anywhere from 25 to 45 miles per hour. Back in 2014, skiing and snowboarding-related activities were attributed to over 200,000 doctor’s office or hospital visits.
Common Skiing Injuries
Knee Ligament Strains & Tears
The most at-risk areas of the body for tears while skiing is your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament). Your ACL helps to ensure the shin doesn’t move too far forward, and your MCL keeps your knee from bending inward. Both of these ligaments can be injured when caught at an unnatural angle, with a great amount of pressure placed on them.
Back injuries can be classified into two categories: bone injuries and muscle injuries. Bone injuries can occur when falling or making an impact with a stationary object (these are much more serious than muscle injuries). Back muscle injuries may occur while straining from trying to avoid a fall, hunching in an unnatural position, or simply skiing on bumpy terrain.
When you fall, your natural reaction will be to extend your arms and try to lessen the impact. The severity of your injury most likely will depend on the density of the snow you’re falling on and the speed you’re going.
Approximately 10 percent of ski injuries come from skier’s thumb, but most people have never even heard of it! When a skier falls with a ski pole in their hand, the pole can catch on the ground and bend the thumb too far outward. This can sprain or rupture the tendon that moves the thumb back and forth.
How to Prevent ACL & MCL Injuries
In the weeks or months leading up to ski season, work on your leg strength. Squats and wall-sits are a great way to work all of the important muscles in your leg.
When on the slopes, be sure to not spread your legs too wide while skiing. If you start falling, do not straighten or tense your legs, and, if you do fall, wait until you have come to a complete stop before trying to get up.
How to Avoid Back Injuries
Preparation is key to avoid muscle injuries in your back. Do back strengthening exercises in the time leading up to ski season. Also be sure to stretch and warm up before hitting the slopes.
How to Prevent Wrist Fractures
When falling, you will try to brace for impact in some way, but try to avoid the instinct to tense your body and limbs. When your body is relaxed, it more evenly distributes the impact.
If you are a beginner and think you may take a few falls, you can also buy wrist braces in your local ski shop.
How to Prevent Skiers Thumb
When you ski, avoid putting your hands into the ski pole loops if possible. This will make it easier for you to let go of the pole in the event of a fall. Some ski gloves also have thumb stabilizers that help protect your thumb’s ligaments.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
Suffering from a ski injury? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has nearly two dozen offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.