Getting Ready To Hit The Slopes This Year and Wondering What You Can Do To Prevent Getting Injured?
The weather is getting colder, and the snow will be coming shortly. The official ski season is around the corner. As you begin preparing for the upcoming winter season, it doesn’t matter whether you are a first-timer, casual weekender, or a seasoned veteran, everyone prepares for and looks forward to their day on the slopes. The thought of injury perhaps is on your mind from an injury you sustained the previous year or the conversations you have had where someone you know reminded you to be careful when you depart for your journey. Injuries on the slopes occur frequently and are a real possibility each time you begin your descent down the mountain.
Ski Injury Statistics
How Often Do Skiing Injuries Occur?
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, a moderate to severe ski injury occurs in 2 out of every 1000 ski trips. On average, there are a total of roughly 600,000 injuries resulting directly from skiing or snowboarding across the United States. Often an injury occurs either early on in the day or near the beginning of your vacation. There are many reasons for this. If you do not live in an area where you can ski regularly or if you are a casual enthusiast who only skis a few times a year, then the risk of injury is much higher. The same muscles used while skiing or snowboarding have been relatively sedentary for the majority of the year and are likely to fatigue quickly on the slopes. This causes instability in and around that group of muscles leading to a greater chance of mild, moderate, and even serious injury.
What Are The Most Common Ski Injuries?
There are many different possible injuries you can get while skiing or snowboarding however, there are two particular types of injuries that occur more often than not.
- Knee Injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
While some injuries are unavoidable, due to ski conditions or other people on the slopes, many injuries in the knees or shoulders begin with proper flexibility and a strong stable core. Additionally, there are things you can do weeks to months in advance that will strengthen your core, improve stability and strength in the muscle groups required during skiing or snowboarding, and greatly reduce the risk of getting injured on the mountain.
Tests You Can Do Right Now
- Stand on one leg for 30 seconds. Were you stable or did you fall over?
- Squat – A standard squat is also a good indicator of core symmetry and stability. Did you squat with good form or did you lose your balance and reach out to stabilize yourself?
Instability on one side or the other, while standing on one leg or performing a squat, is indicative of problems in the core. A distorted core will make the legs tighter resulting in sore legs, feet, and ankles which more importantly can increase your risk of a knee injury. Since the core also affects the way we move our upper body as well, you are also likely to experience tight shoulders and stiffness in the neck as too.
What can you do now to improve the function of your core and reduce the risk of injury?
- Visit a certified or diplomate sports chiropractor. If you are tight and inflexible, visiting a chiropractor can be a great choice before hitting the slopes. Chiropractors are primary care for the musculoskeletal system. They will evaluate your gait, your core strength and are a one-stop-shop for most of the core and flexibility problems that can result in shoulder and knee problems from a few days of skiing. If you require foot orthotics to level your pelvis, your chiropractor can recommend which ones are best for you and you can even have them placed in your ski boots before you head out for the weekend.
- Foam Roll – The myofascia, which is the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles in the body also controls motion. Foam rolling the leg, core and back muscles can improve core function, reduce tightness and improve the way you move.
- Regularly perform exercises such as hip extensions, lateral leg raises, bird dogs and supermans to improve core strength.
- Work on improving your balance. This can be done by standing on one leg for 30 seconds daily. This will improve the stability of your core as well.
- Have your ski boots fitted with an off the shelf or custom foot orthotics to level your pelvis which reduces the strain on your back and your hips.
Looking for a great chiropractor? Visit Charschan Chiropractic and Sports Injury Associates. Feel better in as little as one visit. Request your appointment here.