Common Ski Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Common Ski Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Skiing can be a fun and thrilling pastime for those who enjoy it. However, skiing can be considered an extreme sport as well. And for good reason as well, as few of us are prepared for the physical demands that skiing places on our bodies, resulting in a lot of injuries.

We know that accidents in snow sports are likely, but if nobody talks about them, maybe we'll all be happy? Injuries in snow sports are the elephant in the room during a ski season.

To begin, it is essential to emphasize that we should not live in constant fear of injury. It is essential to be aware that accidents can and do occur. Be ready for the recovery process if you are among the unfortunate statistic that is affected. You will be able to quickly put on your boots and return to the mountain thanks to this.

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What kinds of injuries are most typical while skiing?

The overall injury rate from skiing is close to one injury per 1,000 days skied, despite the sport's popularity and higher risk. Additionally, skiing can cause a variety of injuries to various body parts.

ACL, MCL, and other knee injuries

The knee is the most commonly injured joint, causing approximately one in four ski injuries. The ACL and MCL, the ligaments that connect your thigh bone (femur) to your shin bone (tibia) within your knee joint, are the most frequently damaged parts of the knee. Additionally, the meniscus of the knee joint's shock-absorbing pads of cartilage are frequently affected. Due to the nature of the sport, knee injuries occur frequently while skiing. Most of the time, they happen when you ski hits an unexpected edge. Through the tip of your ski, your body weight and speed generate a lot of energy if the binding that holds your ski to your boot does not release. The length of your ski then acts as a lever, twisting your knee and possibly causing significant damage to your bones and ligaments. The lower legs, ankles, and feet can also be broken and fractured in skiing accidents.

Shoulder injuries

A group of muscles and tendons make up the rotator cuff. The shoulder joint is stabilized by the combination of these. When skiing, a rotator cuff injury is common, especially if the fall is uncontrolled. Skiers need to be able to control their falls and know when to give up and fall sideways rather than continuing down the slope.

Injuries to the wrist and thumb

The human tendency to raise one's arms in the event of a fall also puts the wrists at risk. They frequently act as the body's first point of impact absorber after a fall. Skier's thumb is a common injury if you fall and land on your hands while still holding your ski pole and its strap. The thumb is dislocated or sprained here.

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Skis that didn't always come off at the right time were a common cause of broken legs in the past. The number of lower-leg injuries, particularly shinbone fractures, have significantly decreased as a result of technological advancements like improved binding-release settings and parabolic skis. Although fractures continue to occur, knee ligament injuries are becoming more common.

Head injuries

Skiing can also cause serious head, face, and neck injuries. Compared to cycling helmets, wearing a ski helmet significantly lowers your risk of serious head and brain injuries. Whiplash and a concussion are two common head injuries.

Wrist or ankle injury

While skiing both wrist sprains and ankle sprains are common injuries sustained by skiers. The problem is frequently caused by novices' inability to properly slow down and stop. A skier's ankle can easily be rolled or sent to the ground as they attempt to brace the impact by putting their hands forward in a sudden, awkward pivot to stop or slow down.

Even though ski boots typically provide adequate support and stability, they are not always sufficient for novice skiers whose ankles have not yet been conditioned for skiing. Additionally, gloves do not provide any wrist support. When the wrist or knee joint is struck, the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and other soft tissue can become inflamed, bruised, and painful to touch or move.

What are the main reasons skiers get hurt?

Even though anyone can get hurt skiing, those who haven't been trained by professionals are more likely to get hurt. Those who rent rather than own skis and those between the ages of 35 and 50 are also more likely to get hurt.

Skiing accidents frequently occur because:

  • Not warming up enough
  • Not taking enough ski lessons
  • Not knowing or not paying attention to the safety rules on the slopes and the ski lifts,
  • Taking too many big risks, like going off-piste
  • Not having good judgment
  • Using incorrect or damaged skiing equipment

How can I get care for my ski accident?

If you do sustain an injury while skiing and require medical attention, the best course of action is to see a doctor as soon as possible. This can assist in preventing potential further damage, even if you are still on your ski vacation. A qualified specialist should make any medical diagnosis. When necessary, this may call for a combination of careful examination, x-rays, and MRI scans. With your injury, you usually can go back home to get a definitive diagnosis and treatment. However, if you have a broken bone, you should have it stabilized before traveling.

Injury prevention works

Skiing is an equilateral sport that requires athletes to have good postural control as well as good neuromuscular balance between the quadriceps and hamstring muscles and between the dominant and non-dominant leg. Because neuromuscular function is known to be impaired by ACL injuries, primary prevention is ideal and secondary prevention is required in the event of such injuries.

Since novices are at the greatest risk of injury, it is essential for novices to receive appropriate education, instruction tailored to their sport, and education on risk awareness. Use of protective gear and proper chairlift technique should be taught. It has been demonstrated that wearing a helmet reduces the likelihood and severity of head injuries without increasing the risk of cervical spine injuries or taking risks. Neuromuscular training and strengthening one's core are two additional preventative measures that have been shown to be beneficial.

Prepare before skiing

If you haven't skied in a while, it's best to do some conditioning exercises at least six weeks before skiing. To strengthen your legs and knees, do wall squats, walking lunges, and at least 30 minutes of intense cardio several times per week.

Perform simple stretching

Perform simple stretching exercises for at least 15 minutes prior to hitting the slopes because cold muscles are more susceptible to injury.

Be aware of your skill level and the ice or snow conditions

Because the snow can change the terrain, it's important to be familiar with the snow conditions and stick to slopes that are appropriate for your level.

The appropriate way to fall

Ligaments become torn by fighting against it. Sit down if you can to stop the momentum. Move your limbs closer to your torso. When you fall from a jump, this will keep you from hurting your knee or dislocating your shoulder.

Don't overdo it

Put aside your attempts to impress your friends. Start out on terrain that is easier for you and work your way up gradually. Get in shape with proper training even before that.

Follow the "code of conduct" for skiers

The common sense guidelines that are posted on the slopes are there to protect you and others.

Pause often

Yes, you want to get the most out of your ski time. However, fatigue increases the risk of injury. Take breaks as needed and drink plenty of water or sports drinks to stay hydrated.

Despite the fact that skiing can be an exciting and fun way to spend the winter months, injuries do unfortunately occur. For a proper diagnosis and treatment of any skiing injury, it is critical to see a leading orthopedic specialist.

If you follow our suggestions about injury prevention above, you can reduce your risk of injury but not completely eliminate it. There will be times when you can't stop an injury from happening, but these are rare. You can send it all season long with a little preseason ski training, some mountain training, and a little luck.


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