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  • Writer's pictureAngela Botha

Skiing: Preventing Injuries on the Slopes

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Skiing is a popular winter sport that offers a great cardiovascular workout and a chance to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.

However, skiing also comes with a risk of injury, particularly to the knees, lower back, and ankles.

Common Ski Injuries:

  • Knee sprains and strains, particularly to the ACL and MCL

  • Lower back strains

  • Dislocated shoulder

  • Fractures, particularly in the wrist and collarbone

  • Concussions

Physiolistic knee pain

Prevention Strategies:

  • Prepare and train a month before you go skiing examples includes wall sits, squats, calf stretches ( see exercises at the end of the article)

  • Proper warm up before hitting the slopes. This includes stretching and exercises that target the muscles used in(see exercises below)skiing such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles

  • Wear appropriate and well-fitting equipment, including helmets, goggles, and gloves. Ensure you ski bindings are correctly set to your weight to ensure the detach if you fall ( see section below)

  • Learn proper skiing technique from a certified instructor

  • Take regular breaks to rest and stretch

  • Avoid skiing when fatigued or under the influence of alcohol

Physiolistic ski prevention strategies

It's important to note that even if you take all the necessary precautions, accidents can still happen. If you do experience an injury while skiing, it's important to seek medical attention right away. A physiotherapist can help to manage the pain and improve the function of the affected area, and can also develop a rehabilitation plan to help prevent recurrence of the injury.

Get early medical advice from a trusted source. Video consultations are available at Physiolistic to advise you while abroad

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Ski Bindings and Injury Prevention

Ski Bindings are designed to release the Boot when the skier falls to avoid twisting of the lower leg. The ski not detaching is most common reason for knee and lower leg injuries. DIN settings are a setting located on the Ski Bindings which determine how easily or not the ski releases in the event of such a twisting motion.

There is a wide variation in these settings (from 1-10 generally), and the correct suggested setting often is influenced by several factors. Most importantly is the Level of Experience of the skier, the weight and height of the skier and the relative boot size.

If you are a novice Skier, the bindings are usually set at a low number to allow the ski to release fairly easily. Light weight skiers, and younger kids also require low DIN settings. The heavier the Skier, and the more experience they have, the higher the DIN setting usually is.

On the flipside, as a more advanced skier, there is nothing more frustrating than a ski binding releasing too soon when powering through a deep turn or mogle. This often doesn’t end well either. Similarly, when skiing in soft powder, you don’t want your ski’s coming off too easily.

There is no magic number or setting for each person. If at all possible , I would always recommend getting advice on your DIN settings from the experts in the Ski fitting centres. They deal with these all the time and have a good idea of what number is most appropriate for you. When you hire Ski’s, you will almost always be looked after in this department by the Ski fitters.

Physiolistic ski injuries prevention

Don't let the fear of injuries stop you

Here are some exercises that are beneficial to perform before going skiing to help prevent injuries on the slopes:

1. Squats: Strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes helps to prevent knee injuries and improves stability on the slopes. 2. Lunges: Helps to strengthen the quadriceps and glutes, and improve balance and stability. 3. Calf raises: Strengthening the calf muscles helps to prevent ankle injuries and improves balance and stability on the slopes. 4. Planks: Strengthening the core muscles helps to improve balance and stability on the slopes, and prevent lower back injuries. 5. Shoulder press: Strengthening the shoulders helps to prevent dislocations, which are common in skiing. 6. Leg press: This exercise is aimed at strengthening the quadriceps and glutes, which helps to prevent knee and lower back injuries. 7. Plyometric exercises: These exercises, such as jump squats and box jumps, help to improve explosive power and agility, which are important for skiing.

It's important to note that these exercises should be done under the guidance of a physiotherapist and they should be adjusted to your individual level of fitness and any pre-existing conditions.

Before starting an exercise program, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine what exercises are appropriate for you.

Please contact at Physiolistic if you have any further questions

Angela Botha

Clinical Director

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