Avoid the most common injuries this skiing season
The widespread issue of wearing a helmet when skiing has seen increased attention in recent years. But whilst this is great to see, the most common skiing injuries occur to the knee, and not enough people are preparing themselves for the additional strain they’ll be placing on their knees this winter sports season.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents states that approximately 10,000 UK skiers and snowboarders are admitted to hospital every year with injuries following their winter-sports holidays. There is no part of the body that is immune to potential harm, but the most common skiing injuries occur in the knee, with tears and ruptures of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) being the most common.
However, you can prepare your body for the additional strain and therefore help to prevent sustaining an injury whilst you’re away. Skiing is very physically demanding and it puts a huge strain on your muscles and joints, especially on your knees. If you’ve been inactive since your last skiing holiday, you won’t be well conditioned or prepared and you’ll be putting yourself at greater risk of injury.
You should therefore do plenty of training before you go on your ski holiday, starting now, and work on getting into the best possible shape before you end up at the top of a long steep slippery slope!
Additionally, once you are on the slopes, you should ensure that your bindings aren’t too tight. One of the main dangers on the slopes is actually falling at low speed, when the bindings fail to release. When this happens you then have a six-foot-long ski creating a massive lever arm twisting a 10cm-wide joint, and it’s this twisting that normally tends to tear the ACL.
For those unfortunate enough to injure themselves, you should not feel pressured into going ahead with surgery straight away in a hospital abroad as it’s very rare that there’s so much damage that immediate surgery is really a necessity. It’s actually far better to make sure that the knee is properly protected with a decent brace and to use crutches, and then to get the knee properly assessed once you get home. You’ve then got time to do your research, making sure that you get to see the right/best person, and ensuring that you’ve got a clear and specific diagnosis of exactly what’s actually damaged in your knee. Only then can you really be in an appropriate position to discuss all the various potential options and all their associated pros and cons, before you then decide to proceed with any actual treatment. It’s important that you get answers to all your potential questions before you then make a measured decision about what potential treatment route you’d like to take.
If you’ve sustained a significant knee injury then this is normally fairly obvious, because there will have been major pain at the time of the injury followed by the knee swelling up, and you won’t feel able to continue skiing. If you fit into this category then you’re going to need an MRI scan (not just X-rays!) and you’d benefit from a full and detailed assessment from a proper specialist knee surgeon so that you can then go down the most appropriate treatment route, whether that be surgery or rehab.
It’s easy to get carried away skiing, taking in the breathtaking views and enjoying the exhilaration, but you should also ensure you’re aware of your surroundings and most importantly, remember to suitably prepare yourself for your holiday.
1 December 2017–