How To Avoid Ski Injuries
Ski injuries can leave a long impact so bear these tips in mind
With the winter olympics in full flow and ski season still with a few months to go, many will be tempted to get out on the snow and give the frost conditions a run out. It is worth remembering that skiing is an ‘extreme sport’ and this means that the potential for injury or an accident is high.
In particular, knee injuries are particularly common accounting for over ⅓ of all injuries on the slopes. It makes sense, high speed turning as well as bad landings on jumps can easily result in a tear or damage. Ski boots are also known to put added stress and pressure on knees due to how they are designed and how they are suited to support the ankle. The most common form of injury is an ACL tear which is usually a long recovery time and can possibly require surgery.
It also pays to know when you have a tear or an injury to avoid causing further damage or getting caught in a major accident. With an ACL tear, it’s usually fairly obvious. You may hear a ‘popping’ sound and you will struggle to put weight on it.
In order to avoid this, you’ll need to be careful and have a few things in mind :
- Warm up. Cold muscles are more prone to injury so keep yourself limber. Take your first run slowly as well to make sure your muscles are warm enough to continue with more rigorous activity.
- Hydrate. Being dehydrated can impact your awareness and your physical ability. On something as potentially hazardous as a ski course, you need to be prepared to make quick choices so having your wits about you is pivotal.
- Know safety rules. Abide by all the rules set out by the resort and make sure you know the procedures before heading out. Know how to safely stop and give way to other riders. Also, make sure you understand how to safely board and depart a ski lift and follow all guidelines.
- Be sensible and recognize your limits. We all have our limitations and it can be difficult to accept them, especially when out on a ski course. But not pushing yourself too far and not going beyond your experience level can be crucial to avoid unnecessary strain and injury. It also pays to tackle any new or challenging courses early when you are in better physical condition and your muscles have seen less strain.
- Wear several layers of clothing. Layering gives your body more of a chance of keeping a constant temperature in rapidly changing conditions.
- Check the binding of each ski before skiing. The bindings must be properly adjusted to your height, weight, and skiing ability.
- Wear sport-specific protective gear. It’s important to note that ski helmets are specifically designed for skiing and should always be worn on the course. Also, make sure that your googles are fitted correctly to reduce fogging up.
- Be aware of your environment. Stay on the marked tracks and keep an eye out for ice or rocks which could be on the trail and alert your party to them if able to do so safely. Also pay attention to snow storms and severe drops in temperature. You should be alerted to these anyway but plan ahead and keep up to date.
- Always ski with a partner. Stay within sight of each other and if you get ahead of your partner, stop and wait. This is especially important if you are inexperienced or trying a new course or trail for the first time.
There is a list of tips that will help you avoid injury on the course this season. However, injuries are sometimes unavoidable and you may end up tearing or injuring your knee muscles. In our next piece, we will be discussing what to do if you injure yourself on a ski course and how best to go about treatment.
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