With the 2018 Winter Olympics in full-flight, many of us are already dreaming up snowy getaways. As the most popular winter sport, skiing can provide many health benefits. Not to mention it’s great fun. However, there are a number of common skiing injuries that can occur if you’re not too careful. Before you hit the slopes, it’s important to understand the risks and learn how you can prepare yourself. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a young beginner, this post will help you learn more about the 5 most common skiing injuries. We’ll even give you safety precautions and treatment options for each injury. Ready? Let’s go.
1- Leg sprains and fractures
Leg sprains are the most common skiing injuries, followed by fractures, as skiers can often have falls and collisions with others and objects around them. Often these fractures are to the shins and thighbones and are more common in older skiers whose bones can be more brittle. To help prevent leg sprains and fractures – a skier can make sure they have correctly fitted equipment and releasable bindings on their skis as not doing so can cause ski injuries.
2- Knee injuries
Media collateral ligament damage is the most common skiing injury to the knee as this ligament connects your shinbone to your thighbone. Skiing with your weight unbalanced, especially in a snowplow position, can cause these ski injuries to your MCL. Make sure you spread your weight evenly when you ski and try to stick to the even terrain on the slopes. This ski injury can be simply treated without surgery by wearing a knee brace that will restrict your joint movement. It will mean taking a few weeks off the slopes to let this ski injury heal!
Anterior cruciate ligament damage is a more painful and complicated skiing injury as this ligament is critical for stopping your shinbone from sliding in front of your thighbone. This ski injury can happen by hyper extending and snapping the ligament if you fall backwards while your lower leg continues moving forward. Repairing your ACL will nearly always require orthopaedic surgery and long-term rehabilitation with physiotherapy. Often, you will be advised not to ski again until your ACL has fully recovered and is physically strong enough.
3- Hand injuries
Skiers often hurt their hands as they can easily fall down on them during a tumble on the slopes. The thumb is an especially vulnerable joint in the hand during skiing, as the ligaments can hyper extend if they are bent and they can tear similar to an ACL ski injury. In worst cases, ski injuries to the hands can be more complicated if the bones get crushed during an accident. This will often require orthopaedic surgery with a long-term recovery plan involving restricted movement and physiotherapy. To avoid ski injuries to the hands, skiers can take measures to learn proper ski techniques by having lessons to reduce the risks of injury.
4- Shoulder injuries
Shoulder injuries are another common ski injury that is caused similarly to hand injuries. When skiers fall, they try to hold their arms out to stop them from falling but instead they fall hard on their shoulders causing shoulder dislocations. Shoulder dislocations are when the humerus bone is pushed out through force and removed from the arm-shoulder socket. A similar ski injury to the shoulder can result in a rotator cuff injury, which limits the movement of the shoulder and is more serious. Shoulder dislocations can be normally treatable without surgery as medics can sometimes pop the shoulder back into the socket. However, this can be an extremely painful procedure. If the ski injury has torn the shoulders rotator cuff then the skier will have to have orthopaedic surgery and a long-term rehabilitation period.
5- Head injuries
The most important and common ski injury can be trauma to the head. Head injuries can be fatal and therefore it is imperative that all skiers wear protective headgear! Minor head injuries may just be a few bumps or cuts caused by falling over. However, more serious head injuries can cause spinal injuries or breathing problems and all skiers should be aware of having concussion or symptoms that may require immediate medical attention. Symptoms can include unconsciousness, nausea, dizziness, headaches, bleeding from ears or nose and blurred vision. The ski injury must be given urgent attention by checking the skier’s airway, breathing and circulation (ABC) as it may save their life!
Most Common Skiing Injuries – Book Now
The best way to avoid these common ski injuries is to protect yourself and reduce your risks. For example, taking ski lessons to learn the proper techniques and wearing the correct ski equipment will help to ensure your safety. Treatment is available for all these 5 common ski injuries and orthopaedic doctors will be able to work with patients to help prevent any future ski injuries.
Please remember that any form of exercise may be inherently dangerous. All of Muscle Joint Bone Clinic’s team members are government registered healthcare professionals. For more information on how we can help you, or to book an appointment contact us on (03) 9715 0582.