Are you looking to prevent and treat skiing injuries?
If so this is just for you! Skiing is a high speed sport that requires strength, endurance, balance, skill, and co-ordination. Although skiing is not classed as a contact sport, high speeds, high impact collisions and potential awkward landings make it a high risk (of injury) sport.
All of the muscles from your abdomen down are involved when skiing, as well as those of the lower back and arms. Your lower limb joints bear the brunt of the force passing through your body while skiing.
The knee joint is the most important joint in skiing, with the ankle joint, the wrist, thumb and shoulder girdle being the other joints of importance. Improvement in skiing boots and bindings protect the foot, ankle and your shin from injury. However, this results in the ground forces being transmitted to the semi-flexed knee.
The origin of skiing dates back to 3,000 BC when hunter-gatherers used animal tusks for transportation over ice, modern day skiing is thought to have evolved some 200 years ago in the Scandinavian countries.
Most Common Snow Skiing Injuries
Despite many technical and design advances, injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee, and spinal injuries, continue to occur at an alarming rate. Thumb injuries are common, whilst head, neck and spinal injuries can have more serious outcomes.
A third of all injuries in skiing are related to the knee joint, with ligament injury being the most common.
When a skier falls and twists the lower leg and there is delay in or failure of the ski binding to release tears occur. History of twisting trauma on the knee, pain, swelling, inability to bend the knee, clicking and “giving way” of the knee are the symptoms the condition.
Two common anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are the phantom foot injury where the skier falls backwards with twisting on the downhill leg, and the boot induced injury that occurs due to a high impact, off balance landing.
Symptoms of a torn ACL are:
An audible ”pop” at the time of injury, extreme pain, swelling and stiffness (inability to straighten the leg).
Knee injuries are initially treated with the R.I.C.E.(R.) Click HERE For Immediate First Aid Procedure
The (R) stands for referral. Skiing can cause some very serious accidents. Anything worse than a nast bump, twist or strain should always be referred to a hospital.
Using the principle of R.I.C.E. followed by use of knee supports, mobility exercises and graded exercise to strengthen the quadriceps. Also, pain suppression using pain killers, heat therapy, message, and electrotherapy are effective treatment options. Severe cases of ligament injuries may require surgical reconstruction.
Lower Legs and Ankle Injuries:
With improvement in skiing equipment, incidence of foot and lower leg (Tibial) injuries have shown a decrease in frequency. Tibial spiral fractures and boot top injuries (impingement on the front of the boot) are common occurrences. Use of low boots and failure to release bindings can cause ankle fractures.
These occur as a result of impacts with flexed hips. Dislocation of the hip joint is the most common presentation.
Upper Limb Injuries:
Shoulder injuries include dislocations, rotator cuff tears, and acromioclavicular joint injuries. Usual mechanisms responsible are fall on an outstretched hand and combined abduction and external rotation force when the skier goes past a firmly planted pole.
Collar bone injuries
can also occur as a result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. Pain over the collar bone, swelling and visible bone deformity immediately after injury, are the hallmark of diagnosis.
Treatment strategies include the use of a figure-of-eight bandage or shoulder braces, pain management, rehabilitation and strengthening of the shoulder, chest and upper back etc.
Skier’s thumb is the result of an injury a ligament of the thumb.
This is a common injury which happens when you fall with your hand firmly griping the ski pole. The characteristic symptoms are pain on bending the thumb backwards and in the webbing between the thumb and the forefinger, plus swelling and instability of the joint at the base of the thumb.
Treatment includes pain management, support in the form of thumb spica, mobility and strengthening exercises. If not treated properly the result in a residual component of instability that may require surgical intervention.
Alongside ACL injuries, the incidence of trauma to the spine has also shown an upward trend in recent years. The suggestion is that the increasing speeds attainted and high impact collisions are to blame for this. Most of these injuries occur during falling or improper landing when jumping.
Head and Neck Injuries:
Head, neck and spinal injuries are mainly responsible for the most serious skiing injuries, with traumatic brain injury being the single largest cause of death. Research supports the use of helmets, which drastically reduces the head injuries without increasing the incidence of a neck injury.
Serious head and neck ski injuries are more common in younger, more advanced and adventurous skiers. High speed impacts are mainly responsible, but avalanche risks should be heeded. For More Ski Tips Click Here.
Injury Prevention Strategies
- Seek advice on biomechanical problems like various deformity of knee, high arches, over-pronation, etc. Use orthotics as advised by sports medicine professionals.
- Undergo physical conditioning and massage therapy for improved muscular strength, endurance, co-ordination, and reflexes.
- Select proper ski equipment, boots and difficulty of slope according to skier ability.
- Include a proper warm up and cool down, with stretching exercises
involving the hamstrings, quadriceps, ITB tract, and calves.
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Shielding from the elements: protect the eyes from glare, prevent laceration or abrasions due to exposure of skin, and use layered clothing suitable for a particular condition.
Do You Ski For Holiday Fun?
Important Note: If you only ski when you are on holiday it is really important to follow the ‘The Rule Of Three’
After two days of skiing, the muscles of your lower limbs are fatigued and less able to protect against injuries. The rule of three recommends you;
- Stop before 3 pm each day,
- Not to ski for not more than 3,000m each day
- Take the third day off.
There are many useful even vital stretches for skiing, Below are three to get you started. Click Here For More STRETCH INFO
Lying Knee Roll-over Stretch:
While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.
Kneeling Quad Stretch:
Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.
Standing Toe-up Achilles Stretch:
Stand upright and place the ball of your foot onto a step or raised object. Bend your knee and lean forward.