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Shred the Slopes Not Your Body

Are you skiing this year? If so, are youand your body prepared?. Alpine skiing and snowboarding are classified as extreme sports due to the involvement of high speeds and an increased propensity for participants to jump and perform acrobatic maneuvers . There is an increasing involvement in these winter sports, with nearly 1 million people from the UK skiing or boarding annually.

There are risks involved when participating in snow sports. Alpine skiing and snowboarding take place in environments where medical care may not be readily available on site. Because of these challenges, greater emphasis needs to be placed on skill, preparation, and safety strategies/equipment to prevent serious injury and It is important to check before travelling that your medical insurance includes extreme sports.

In both skiing and snowboarding, the leading cause of death and catastrophic injury is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Head injuries and concussions account for 25 to 30% of injuries. Musculoskeletal injuries are far more common, albeit less serious. Skiers are at greater risk of sustaining an injury to their lower limbs whilst Snowboarders on the other hand sustain most injuries to their upper limbs.

But here are the positives. Wearing a helmet and being physically prepared for your trip can significantly reduce your risk of injury. There are also many benefits to a skiing holiday, not only is it fun and being outdoors enjoying the beauty of your natural surroundings is good for your soul and mental outlook. But undoubtedly the physical exertion is great exercise for your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems.

Why not start your holiday in pristine condition? If you know you have a knee or back niggle visit your Physiotherapist for some hands-on treatments and exercise prescription so you can enjoy your trip without any flare-ups. Your Physiotherapist can also prescribe strengthening exercises for your knees and quadriceps muscles (thigh muscles); the stronger they are the better they can absorb the impacts of skiing and snowboarding without injury. Yoga, Pilates and core strengthening will protect your back and improve your balance which again may save you from a fall and subsequent injury. In addition to this being physically fit will make your skiing better and more enjoyable. Injuries often occur later in the day when fatigue sets in and concentration levels lag. The fitter you are the longer you will be able to stay out on the slopes without increasing your injury risk

Fortunately, most snow sport injuries can be treated with rest, bracing, pain medication and Physiotherapy. Some more severe fractures and ligament tears may require surgical intervention where recovery periods can vary from 3 to 6 months, and necessitate intensive rehabilitation. So, remember, on returning from your trip, get any sprains or strains checked out early, rather than waiting to see if it will resolve itself. Early treatment and rehabilitation of an injury guarantees better long term outcomes.

We’ve put together a guide called “6 Strategies for Avoiding Injury on the Slopes” and it’s accompanied by two leaflets with videos, containing six power exercises for either snowboarding or skiing. To download the leaflet click here

A skiing holiday is great fun, and these risks shouldn’t deter you from going and having a good time. Use these tips to get better prepared and stay injury free.