Skiing isn’t just a sport reserved for the Winter Olympics. Tens of thousands of people around the world hit the slopes as soon as a fresh blanket of snow covers the ground. The thrill of navigating runs and pushing their bodies to the limit keeps them coming back.
Since it is a rigorous activity, skiing always carries a chance of injury. You can take steps to minimize that risk, so it doesn’t impede your winter fun.
What are common ski injuries?
Skiing engages the whole body in strenuous exercise. That means injuries can occur anywhere on your upper body or lower body without warning.
Knees, shoulders, legs, arms, and hands are body parts most susceptible to injury when skiing. Common injuries include:
- MCL damage
- ACL damage
- Leg fractures and sprains
- Hand fractures and sprains
- Shoulder fractures, dislocations, and sprains
- Thumb sprains
Sudden twists or hard falls are often the main culprits behind these injuries. Such injuries can be quite severe and require lots of time and money to rehabilitate the injured body part.
How can you prevent ski injuries?
Using some common sense can go a long way toward preventing injuries when you go skiing. Taking precautions can help you stay safe and avoid life-threatening situations.
Never hit the slopes when you are feeling under the weather or dealing with fatigue. It slows your reaction time. When you are at full strength, take regular rest breaks and go at a pace that fits within your physical limitations. Always stay hydrated as well as dehydration can lead to cramps and fatigue.
Wearing gear that properly fits is essential. Bindings should not be too loose or too tight. Use protective gear like a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist pads. These can shield some of your most vulnerable body parts in case of a fall.
Never venture off onto closed trails. Always pay attention to warning signs and weather conditions around you. Snow and ice conditions are never static. When they change, it can quickly alter the terrain.
Warm up before your first run. Conditioning will strengthen muscles bones and joints. Biking, walking or jogging for 30 minutes at least three times per week will improve your endurance on the slopes.
If you or someone you know has experienced a ski injury on the slopes, contact Orthopedic Research Clinic of Alaska today at 907-644-6055 or online.