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Skiing and Snowboarding Injury Prevention

Posted 10 February 2014
Written by Steve Griffin

image of ski fallGood luck to all Team GB athletes competing in the 22nd Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. It will prove to be a really exciting event and UK Sport is predicting that this will be the most successful winter Olympics.

My personal interest in winter sports has grown from 2 avenues, my own enjoyment of skiing and because I have personal experience of attending the Winter Paralympics in Turin 2006 as team physio for the Disabled Alpine skiers. I have also worked 2 winter seasons as a physio on the slopes in Australia and New Zealand, where I was lucky enough to treat Chemmy Alcott. So I certainly have plenty of experience assessing and treating snow sports.

The trouble with skiing is the force and speed involved, couple that by throwing in the unpredictability of the other piste users often makes it hazardous. This is often a recipe for injury from falls and collisions. Anytime that the force exerted on the body is greater than the body’s ability to resist this then injury ensues.

Skiing commonly leads to knee and shoulder injuries, whilst snowboarding seems have prevalence for back, shoulder and wrist injuries. Both can lead to head injuries, as was recently highlighted by Michael Schumacher’s unfortunate fall in January (We wish him as full a recovery as possible).

Using well maintained equipment (skis with bindings that are correctly adjusted) and protective equipment (helmets and wristguards) will help to reduce the risk of injury. Having had good instruction and skiing within yourself are also important. The other aspect you can do is to make sure you are physically as fit as possible. Lower limb strength and core control is very important, basic lunge type exercises that strengthen your Gluteus, Quads and Hamstrings are all good. If you want advice about what strengthening exercises you can do to maximise your enjoyment on the slopes then ask gym staff for advice or book yourself in to see us.

If you are unlucky enough to endure an injury then come and see us on your return. We’ll be able to help get you back fully fit, and also give you a few pointers about what you can do to avoid injuries on next year’s snow holiday!

Let’s hope your snow holiday is injury free!


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