Preventing common ski injuries

The ski season is in full swing, and we want you to feel confident and prepared when you hit the slopes. Whether you’re a regular snow bunny or a beginner, ski injuries can strike if you’re not careful. Read on to learn about common ski injuries we see among patients seeking physiotherapy in Twickenham and how to prevent them.

Common injuries

Knees

Knee injuries are the most common ski injury since a lot of pressure is applied to your knees when bending, twisting and turning. Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and meniscus/cartilage are among the most common.

Skier’s thumb

Falling while still gripping the pole can cause a dislocation or sprain to the ligaments around the thumb joints upon impact.

Wrists, shoulders and collar bones

Falling awkwardly, especially at high speeds can lead to a shoulder dislocation, while putting out your arms to break a fall can result in a fracture to the wrist and/or collar bone.

Lower leg injuries

Injuries to the ankles and lower leg are less likely in well-fitting ski boots but fractures to the lower leg/shin can be caused by falling awkwardly at speed or collision with an obstacle.

Be prepared

There are a number of exercises you can do to reduce your chances of common ski injuries, but you should always consult a professional to assess your form and show you how to perform them correctly. If an exercise isn’t appropriate for you or it isn’t done properly, it can lead to further injuries.

Strengthen and train key areas

There are specific exercises you can do to improve flexibility and strength in injury-prone areas, in particular the knee and hip muscles. Regular squats, lunges/split squats, wall sits, bridging exercises, as well as quads and hamstring stretches can help condition the legs for the ski season.

Work on balance

Balance is essential to help you stay centred while skiing and adapting to changes in terrain. There are a few exercises that can help improve your balance using equipment such as wobble boards, Bosu balls and balance pads and slider boards.

Outdoor sports, such as paddle-boarding, mountain-biking and trail-running can also help fine-tune coordination and motor skills.

Practice falling

Falling over is inevitable, even if you’re a pro. Falling well can be the difference between getting back up and injuring yourself.

Relax

Easier said than done, but relaxing your muscles can help reduce the severity of potential injuries. Allowing your muscles, ligaments and joints to move more naturally could result in a less serious and painful fall.

Don’t dig in the edges

Unless heading towards an obstacle, you should avoid digging the edges of your skis in the snow to brake. This could cause you to jolt, resulting in injuries around the knee.

Aim your feet downhill

Once you’ve hit the ground, you should point your feet downwards. This will help you control the direction you’re going in while protecting the rest of your body.

Don’t use your hands to break the fall

The urge to brake using your hands or arms may be strong but this can result in injuries to the shoulders, collarbones, hands, wrists or elbows. Instead, try to fall into a roll. This will help distribute the impact of the fall more evenly across your body.

Drop poles

You should drop your poles in a fall to reduce the risk of shoulder, wrist and thumb injuries.

Have the right kit

It’s vital to use equipment that’s suited to you and fits you properly, particularly if it’s hired. Shops should properly measure you for boots, skis and poles. As well as the right length, skis should suit your skill level and the terrain you’ll be skiing in.

Waterproof and windproof clothing should be worn for comfort and warmth, allowing for maximum focus and performance.

Protective items such as wrist guards and pads for the elbows and knees provide added protection to injury-prone areas and joints. Wear a ski helmet to avoid head injuries.

If you’ve got an injury from skiing or any other sport, our specialist team can help with rehabilitation to get you back on your feet. Give us a call on 0208 898 1213 for more information.