Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries Guide

Common Injuries when Skiing and Snowboarding

The rate of injuries has decreased over the years and this is due to the improvement in equipment. The introduction of release binding systems has made the biggest impact on lower limb fractures. Infact injuries have decreased since the 1970's and now stands at roughly 3 injuries per 1000 skier days. Ski leashes and ski breaks have also contributed to a downturn in the number of cuts skiers sustain. A general guide to some types of injury:

Head injuries: The effect of a head injury depends on the speed of impact and the area of the head injured. A high speed head on collision with a stationary object is more likely to result in a fatality then any other. All head injuries should be investigated by a doctor even if the resultant effect is slight nausea or a headache.

Shoulder injuries: The most common shoulder injuries are fracture and dislocations, fractures normally happen when the person falls onto an outstretched hand. X-rays are not always necessary and the treatment is usually a period of rest with the arm in a sling and then followed up with shoulder excersises to keep the joints mobile. Dislocation can happen when the person falls on the hand and twists it at the same time. This is extremely painfull but easily remeded by a medical practitioner who will be able to put the joint back into place.

Thumb injuries: A common injury to the thumb would be caused by the falling with the ski pole in their hand and the handle pushing the joint out of place. The ligament could tear completely. As this joint is an important one it is a good idea to have an x-ray to asses the damage. Some injuries are so bad they reqiure a period of up to 8 weeks physio and a splint or plaster. The best way to avoid this injury is to ski with out the pole straps on if the conditions allow it.

Knee injuries: Most winter sports enthusiasts will be aware that knee injuries are quite common. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a fibrous band of tissue that links your shinbone to the thigh bone, stabalising your knee joint. If your body is forced to into an awkward position by a fall and your boot bindings fail to release, your knee will twist violently and result in a painfull injury. A quick test at the start of the ski season to check that your bindings will release properly will help avoid injury in the first place. Toning up your leg and thigh muscles before you ski is a good way to reduce the overall risk of a leg injury.