Skiing and Snowboard Injuries and What to Do
By: Dr. Sabrina Wayt, DPT
The mountains are packed with snow and you know what that means??? Time to hit the slopes! Winter mountain sports are often the ones we did not stay in shape for and usually jump into after not having skiied or snowboarded for almost a year, oftentimes leading to injury. Both skiing and snowboarding have their “typical” injuries due to differences in the sport. With skiing your legs are more vulnerable to knee injuries, while snowboarding your legs are secured together onto a board, however injuries with snowboard usually occur with the wrist. Falls involving your bottom, low back, and hips commonly occur as well. Often times these injuries occur in the last run of the day when the body is tired or the first or second run of the season when the body is still not up to par with the demands of the sport. In order to prevent this injury it is important to maintain an active healthy lifestyle and thoroughly train prior to partaking. If it has been a while since you last hit the slopes, it is a good idea to get lessons to brush up on technique and get the feel before going down a black diamond run. Below are the most common ski and snowboard injuries. Follow this link below to learn how to warm up your body and prevent injuries on the mountain.
With knees being the most vulnerable in this sport, the most common ski injury is tearing your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) due to the twisting and lateral movement of the knees. The close proximity of the ACL to the medial meniscus and medial collateral ligament (MCL) compromises these other two structures often result in injury as well. Signs of this injury include swelling, instability, and pain with knee movement. If you are feeling unstable or have any of these other symptoms that are not getting better you can come to Lilly Physical Therapy where we can perform a scan to determine if you are a candidate for physical therapy. If you know you are prone to knee injuries or have recovered from one it is a good idea to wear a knee brace that stabilizes the knee and prevents lateral movement. An ACL tear will usually take about a year to fully recover from and it is important to make sure your knee is stable enough to return to sport. Ligamentous and meniscal injuries oftentimes require surgery in order to repair the damaged tissues, otherwise a strengthening program is utilized to strengthen the surrounding structures. A knee brace in both cases is often required for that added stability. Falls while skiing usually involve the hip/pelvis as you are more prone to ditch to one side, offsetting your pelvis. When this injury occurs it is very painful especially with single leg activities such as putting on your pants or getting into a car. Acutely, rest, keep legs aligned together and reduce the amount of single leg activities. This can easily be managed through physical therapy to correct the alignment of the pelvis with various techniques.
The most common snowboard injury is a wrist fracture. Snowboarding entails a great deal of balance and when you loose this it often results in a fall on your bottom or catching yourself with your arms. The repetitive stress on the wrist at a harsh angle leaves the wrists vulnerable to fracture. The two most common fractures due to falls are a fracture of the scaphoid bone and a Colles fracture. The scaphoid bone is one of the eight carpal bones and most commonly injured while catching a fall on an outstretched hand. This fracture is very painful with signs being pain where the thumb meets the wrist and difficulty moving the wrist. The Colles fracture is a fracture of the radius bone, where the arm meets the wrist and thumb. Signs include a “Dinner fork deformity”, where the wrist and arm look like an face down fork, swelling, and extreme with all wrist and hand movements. Should you believe that you or someone else have either of these immediately find the nearest medical facility. In order to prevent these fractures it is recommended to wear wrist guards that protect the wrist and offer support when catching falls. Falling on your bottom can result in low back pain or tail bone pain. You might experience pain with sitting of shifting weight, and bending forward. Come in to Lilly Physical Therapy where we use fast acting techniques to get you out of pain!
Injuries that are common to both skiing and snowboarding are head injuries and spinal cord injuries. Ways to avoid these are to wear a helmet and always be safe. No matter how awesome it might be to ride off a jump or go between trails where trees are, always think about your safety first.
At Lilly Physical Therapy we want you to have fun this season but always be aware of the possible injuries that can happen on the slopes and how to prevent them. Should you have any of these currently we would be happy to rehabilitate you and be ready for next season! We use highly skilled, quick, fast-acting techniques where you begin to see results sooner and get back to what you love doing!