Stay Injury Free on the Slopes this Winter
by Sports Therapist – Emma Davis
Although the prevalence of skiing injury has reduced by around 50% in the last 15 years skiing is still regarded to be a relatively dangerous sport.
Knee injuries have the highest prevalence, accounting for around 45% of all skiing injuries. Despite skiing injury rates decreasing in recent years the rate of ACL ruptures has increased by nearly 200%! Risk of knee injury is higher in women than men and higher in lighter inexperienced than heavier more experienced skiers.
Ski holidays are an expensive luxury and so to become injured whilst out there and miss out on all the fun can be really upsetting.
To reduce the risk of developing an injury whilst skiing do the following:
- Carrying out a thigh, gluteal and hamstring strengthening protocol prior to heading off to the mountains will ensure your body is in the best shape to protect your knees from excessive forces which may be placed on them due to fatigue, difficult conditions or inefficient technique. Consequently, such a protocol can significantly decrease your risk of injury.
When taking part in any other sporting activities you complete a sufficient warm-up and warm-down. Unsurprisingly it is important to also do so before and after skiing. A short jog to raise your heart rate followed by a few dynamic stretches focusing on your hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles and iliotibial band will ensure your body is fired up and ready for action dramatically decreasing your risk of injury.
- If you over-pronate obtain some orthotics to wear in your ski boot. Without these your foot will be pronated in your boot when skiing directly downhill, thus when you attempt to pronate your foot to edge your downhill ski when skiing across the slope you cannot and will need to rotate your lower limb inwards to obtain the edging effect. This creates a inward (valgus) knee position which results in inefficient skiing, fatigue and medial knee pain
- Most skiing injuries occur on the 3rd day of a skiing trip. On this day your confidence is at it’s highest whilst your muscles are significantly fatigued. If you are not an overly confident skier it is a good idea to take this day off from skiing or simply have a lighter day.
- Improving your fitness before heading off to the slopes can help to reduce your risk of developing an injury due to fatigue. Some gyms hold specific classes to help prepare members for skiing trips or book an appointment at Maple Leaf where we can create an individually tailored programme for you to ensure you are in peak shape to enjoy your skiing trip.