Ski and snowboard season is officially here and while it brings a lot of fun, it can also bring a lot of pain to some people! Winter sport injuries are common due to the speed and nature of the sport. Skiing and snowboarding do have some similarities, but the injuries sustained from both sports are different. Skiiers tend to focus on balance, flexibility, speed, and strength. Snowboarders tend to have the same but they move their bodies completely different from a skier, which leads to different injuries. Here are some of the most common ski and snowboard injuries we treat.
We see a lot of skiiers end up with knee injuries, especially those skiiers that love to do moguls. Skiiers have a lot of injuries in the knees and lower extremities as they twist the upper leg one way and the lower leg rotates the other way. Tears in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are the most common knee injuries that occur for skiiers.
Snowboarders can have problems with knees, but they typically do not end up with ACL tears. Since snowboarders are always pointing the knee in the same position, it keeps it from twisting too much and the upper extremities tend to be the area that takes the impact.
Snowboarders often come in with wrist sprains and wrist fractures because they fall on their hands. We also see snowboarders come in with shoulder and head injuries since their upper body tends to take the majority of the punishment when snowboarding.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Both skiiers and snowboarders can end up with rotator cuff injuries. Strengthening programs combined with dry needling and other treatments can assist in reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation. Patients with rotator cuff injuries are normally those that go off jumps or attempt to perform risky maneuvers and tricks.
While these may be the most common ski and snowboarding injuries, we have seen a variety of others including:
- Broken collarbones
- Broken tailbones
- Neck strain
- Shoulder dislocation
- Finger fractures
- Wrist tendonitis
- Herniated discs
- Muscle strains of the back
What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured?
If you have broken or dislocated something, seek out medical attention immediately. If you have a mild strain or sprain, call our office for a consultation. We will sit down with you to evaluate the severity of your case and determine the best treatment plan. Soon after the injury occurs, it is best to use ice three or four times a day to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Layton Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine deals with all types of athletes and their injuries. We can assist in creating a long-term treatment program to prevent future injuries. If you have a mild sprain or strain, we can help you prevent surgery through effective techniques. Our team also works with patients before surgery to help strengthen the area and speed up the recovery time following surgery. Call our Layton physical therapy office to schedule a consultation for your specific injury.
Preventing Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries
We recommend all patients follow the proper procedure when skiing and snowboarding. Invest in some safety gear including a helmet. If you are a skier or snowboarder that likes to perform tricks or jumps, consider using wrist and elbow guards to help break the impact when you do fall. Learning the mechanics of how to perform particular tricks can help you from twisting the body in the wrong way, which leads to problems with knee strain and possibly ACL tears.
Keep in mind that skiing and snowboarding are two completely different sports. If you are switching from one to the other, your technique is different. Great skiiers don’t always make great snowboarders right away as your mechanics are completely different. It is important to pace yourself and go slowly until you learn the right body mechanics. Consider a skiing or snowboarding lesson from a qualified instructor to help you learn as it will make your visit enjoyable, and prevent you from serious injuries.