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How to Prevent Ski Injuries

How to prevent ski injuries – learn from our resident American and physiotherapist, Rachel Allen, who has grown up skiing and snowboarding in the White Mountains. Tips on how to prepare for skiing; what to do on the day; and exercises to prevent injury.

Tis the season! Ski season that is. Getting ready for hopefully the first normal winter in a while, a lot of people are getting back to annual ski trips. So how do you prevent ski injuries? 

 

1. Get your body ready

We all know the feeling of the day after using muscles that haven’t been used in a loooong time. For anyone who skis or snowboards, it is usually the sides of your hips or front of your thighs. 

If you haven’t been as active this year, no need to worry. Even a few short weeks is enough time to improve your body’s movement control and prepare your muscles. I have put together a programme below which will help you to strengthen and prepare for the physical demands of skiing or snowboarding. 

[Click here to download] Ski Injury Prevention Programme © Mid West Physiotherapy

The PDF above outlines the following exercises which will help you prepare effectively for your holiday. In summary, do these exercises 3 days a week over at least 3 weeks (3 rounds of each), and your body will thank you later on the ski slopes.

  • 10 x walking over fence
  • 5 x single leg squats 
  • 20 x band walks to the side 
  • 5 x single leg jump and land
  • 5 x sideways jump and land on 1 leg
  • 10 x deadbugs with yoga ball/band
  • 10 x lateral hip hitches 

 

2. On the day – warm up properly

It’s tempting to hit the slopes straight away, but it’s important to take a few minutes to get warmed up first. Do something to get blood flowing to the muscles you’ll be using. Even a brisk walk, plus squats, lunges, and jumps, can be enough to warm up.

 

3. Take regular breaks and pace yourself

Skiing is an intense activity – just because you’re not sweating due to temperature, doesn’t mean your body isn’t working hard! 

Think of it like running – if you haven’t been running in a while, you wouldn’t try to run 10km straight as fast as you can. Instead, start with 2km at a gentle pace; you would then take a break; and could do it over a few days. Running 10km in a row is very different than running 2km over 5 days. The last 1km of that 10k would feel very different to the last run on the 5th day. 

The same applies to skiing! Doing 10 long ski runs in a row is very different from doing 2-3 green circle runs, having a tea break, doing a few more, and taking regular breaks. Doing 2 ski runs in a row, in 5 separate breaks, is a much better idea. Your body won’t be as fatigued and that will reduce your risk of injury. 

 

4. Prevention is better than cure 

One of the best ways to prevent injury is to know where your weaknesses lie. A personalised physiotherapy assessment is one of the best ways to do this. We will assess any old injuries; your current movement ability; and your balance. Then create a comprehension injury prevention programme to fit your personal needs. 

And remember, all good things in life come with some risk! So enjoy the time away, the views, and the trip – and if you need anything when you get back, call us on 061 201 444 or make an appointment here.

 

Additional Resources 

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons – “Skiing Injury Prevention”

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