Between all the snow we’ve been getting, and the arrival of the Winter Olympics, skiing is on everyone’s mind. Knee, Shoulder and Thumb injuries are all common in skiers, and believe it or not, these injuries occur more often in intermediate and advanced athletes than in beginners!
To help you enjoy your ski season, we’ve got some tips for you:
- Don’t forget to warm up! Not only is it cold out there, but just like any other athlete, skiers gain benefits in both injury prevention and performance when they take the time to go through a dynamic warm-up prior to activity. Try running in place or some jumping jacks before jumping onto the lift!
- Save the “Lean Back” for the dance floor! Leaning backward during a landing moves the body’s center of gravity, compromising stability. To avoid injury, work on maintaining an upright body position when landing.
- Don’t end up an Angry Bird — a pigeon-toed stance can increase risk of injury. Try to keep your skis pointed straight ahead to keep you on course and keep your knees healthy.
- Feeling tired? If your muscles are fatigued, you are more likely to have difficulty with cutting and jumps, so take a break at the lodge and enjoy some hot cocoa!
- Work out at the gym when you’re not hitting the slopes. Focusing on strengthening your hamstrings, glutes, and core while off the slopes will help your strength and endurance while on the slopes.
- Practice makes Perfect! Most of us can’t spend every day on the slopes, so incorporate plyometrics into your workout routine, to help perfect your soft landing. Keeping your knees bent instead of locking them out minimizes the shock to your joints and your chance of injury.
- An Ounce of Prevention … Almost 50%* of ski injuries occur to the knee joint, but did you know that your Physical Therapist or Sports Performance Coach can work with you on a prevention program to help decrease risk of injuries, like ACL tears?
Whether you prefer the Bunny Slope or the Black Diamond trails, following these easy tips will help ensure your safety and improved performance this ski season! Happy Skiing!
*Source: Coury, T., Napoli, A., Wilson, M., Daniels, J., Murphy, R. & Milzman, D. (2013)Injury Patterns in Recreational Alpine Skiing and snowboarding at a mountainside clinic. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 24, 417-421