Skiing Injuries

Skiing Injuries

With the winter Olympics closing in, people are preparing to participate in the ancient act of skiing. Skiing as a sport is enjoyed by more than 200 million people around the world. It is vital for the safety of skiers to realise that getting physically prepared is as important as doing the necessary maintenance of their equipment. Like any other game, skiing has its more common injuries that can often be avoided if suitable preparation is taken.

The soft tissues of the knee – like the medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament, are the most common injured during skiing. There is a higher prevalence of these injuries among women and children than men. Although, they do tend to be less severe (grade 1 and 2 sprains) than those of their male counterparts. Also, ankle, shoulder and wrist injuries are common among skiers. For example, anterior shoulder dislocations can result from falling while the hand is being pulled backward by the skiing pole or a collar bone fracture that results from falling on an outstretched hand. Moreover, thumb injuries like sprain of a ligament can result from falling on the hand while holding the skiing pole. Thus, it is a good strategy to throw the skiing pole away as you fall!!

If you do have a fall while skiing, the ability to take weight on the leg immediately after the fall or to walk for four consecutive steps is a good indicator that the injury is relatively minor or does not need a visit to the A&E. The ability to move the shoulder or the thumb after the fall is also a good sign. In these situations, an initial PRICE program consisting of Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation can help with the pain and the swelling if present. If the pain or swelling doesn’t subside within the first 48 hours or there was an audible pop from the knee at the time of the fall, it is then crucial to see a specialist.

After the acute phase of the injury and even with the resolution of the pain, disability and swelling, a visit to the physiotherapist is useful to examine the effect of the injury on your body and to get you into a suitable rehabilitation program, This will get you prepared for your return to sport with the lowest risk of recurrence. The rehabilitation program is carefully designed to be suitable for every individual’s unique abilities, pace and level. Usually, it consists of stretching, strengthening, endurance and balance exercises. As you progress through these exercises, you can move on to a more advanced program that can help with your strength and stability and improve your skill level in the sport.

An important tip that every person participating in sport should take it to heart, is to get in to the habit of a good warming up and cooling down regime. This can prevent injuries related to sport or at least diminish its effect. A series of quick stretches as a warm up, especially of the hamstrings can prepare the muscle for the force required. This can also increase muscle control and speed of response in the face of sudden challenges of movement. After the performance, a slow stretching exercises with holds can reduce the time of recovery the muscles need to restore its normal status and will help to prevent injuries in the subsequent events.

Pre-existing injuries can also lead to further problems. Pain can reduce the level of performance of the skier and therefore affect the ability to change direction suddenly or control speed appropriately. As a skier, if you notice pain in your body, it is important to contact your physiotherapist. They will be able to examine it thoroughly advise in the correct treatment before you return to your sport. In addition, the physiotherapist can advice you on conditioning exercises that focus on the endurance and strengthening of your leg and back muscles.

When you are skiing it is important to be honest with yourself about your fitness and ability and to stop skiing before muscle fatigue becomes apparent. As fatigue sets in, performance levels decrease level and the likelihood of an injury increases.

Finally, making sure that you have the best available gear suitable for your professional level can help you avoid a lot of unfortunate events.