Avoiding getting injured this ski season
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Statistics change depending on which study you read but figures of between 2 in every 500 up to 4 in every 500 skiers/snowboarders getting injured on their skiing trip.
There are a number of different reasons behind every skiing accident, but there are many things that could have been controlled prior to the injury which could have significantly reduce the chances.
Not warming up properly
In every other sport, a warm up is seen as vital before starting, skiing should be no different. Now we are not suggesting going for a run up and down the lift queue but a few simple exercises such as squats, lunges and stretches for the hips and legs, are a great way to make sure the muscles and joints are ready for the strain about to be put through them. If needed get some advice from your Physiotherapist or Ski Fit coach on the best ways to warm up before skiing.
Being out of shape
Your preparation for the slopes can start before you’ve even left Blighty. For most people it has been at least a year since the last time they were on the slopes. This means that unlike other sports we get little chance to practice or keep in shape. Use services such as Synergy’s Ski Fit assessments which find out specifically where you are strong or weak, or what areas aren’t as flexible as they should be. This will give you a lot of confidence on the slopes when you get there, meaning you can spend longer skiing and less time resting as you are more conditioned and ready to go.
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The most common reason for skiing accidents to occur is due to alcohol consumption. As much as the après ski is a key part of the ski holiday, plan your day and your drinking around what you plan to be doing on the slopes. If you’re planning on skiing in the afternoon then maybe skip the drink at lunch. This also extends to the morning after, if you’ve had a good evening the night before then make sure you’re fit for the slopes if heading out early the next morning.
Pushing the boundaries
The second most common reason for getting injured is skiing out of your comfort zone. We all like to feel like we are progressing as the holiday goes on, but if you haven’t skied for a while then take the first day a little easier to get back into the swing of things. As your holiday goes on, do your research of where you plan to ski not all blue/red/black runs are the same. Ask around in the evening to find out things to watch out for and if in doubt go with a guide.
Renting equipment increases your risk of injury by a staggering 800%. This doesn’t mean that you should be rushing out and buying all the latest kit, rather if you are renting take time to make sure it fits correctly and you know how it works, especially the boots and bindings. If it is uncomfortable don’t be shy to take it back.
This is a no brainer but worth spending a bit of money on the right protective equipment. Sales of skiing helmets have exploded since Michael Schumacher’s accident. This is great but also shows how important to be proactive to buying the kit rather than reactive. Wrists when boarding will take impact, knees when skiing will get twisted but having the right kit will stop this stress becoming excessive.
Have a look at the Ossur braces offered at Synergy Physiotherapy to help stabilise the knee to protect ligaments, or offload the knee to help reduce the load through the knee joint.
Skiers boarding or boarders skiing
Switching between boarding and skiing can be great fun to try different things if you get the chance. Be careful to get used to the kit and feel again especially the boots as these fit very differently, before you leap down the slopes you normally go down on your board/skis. If in doubt have a couple of lessons. The most common injury for skiers is knees, and for boarders in wrists, which goes to show the different strains you put through your body.