Downhill skiing is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in the winter season. However, this fun-filled activity is associated with the risk of injuries that may include torn ligaments, broken bones, and serious head injuries.
Most of these injuries are caused due to falls and collisions. The lower extremities including the knee and lower leg are the most common areas to be injured. Ski bindings secure the ski boot to the ski and are designed to release when subject to the high forces of an impact or fall. Inadequate ski binding release during a fall accounts for a significant number of lower limb injuries. Sprains and fractures of the fingers, hand, and wrist are also quite common. This is usually due to falling on an outstretched hand while the ski pole is still strapped to the wrist. Here are a few tips to prevent common ski injuries this winter:
- Be Well Prepared Physically: Downhill skiing requires a combination of strength, flexibility, endurance and reflexes. Adhere to a conditioning program to make sure you are up to the challenges of the sport. Warm up properly before putting on your skis and don’t forget to cool down after. Get expert guidance if necessary.
- Use the Right Equipment: Whether you are buying or hiring ski equipment, seek expert advice. Make sure the equipment fits well and is suitable for the intended use. All ski binding adjustments should be done under professional guidance. Your boots should be comfortable, sturdy, waterproof, and provide thermal protection. Cut no corners when it comes to using layered clothing and protective gear such as helmets and goggles. It is better to be safe than sorry.
- Use Proper Technique: If you are a novice, make sure the ski run is in keeping with your skill level. Don’t ski too fast or without control, hold the poles correctly, and ensure that the straps are in place. Follow all the safety recommendations provided by the local authority.
- Miscellaneous Safety Tips: Carry a list of your medications with you in case you do get injured and are in need of first aid. Always inform someone about where you intend to ski and when you can be expected back home. Children should only ski under adult supervision. Don’t drink and ski as this will dull your reflexes and cause hypothermia.
By following these tips, you are doing your best to ensure a memorable and safe skiing experience this winter.
Dr. Domb is a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the hip, shoulder, and knee. A noted pioneer in advanced new techniques in hip arthroscopy, he delivers innovative treatments for patients with hip injuries such as impingement and labral tears. Dr. Domb is also an expert in arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee, adept in specialized techniques including arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and all-inside ACL reconstruction.