Ski season-are you prepared?
Numbers of people hit the slopes in the winter months and numbers of people return to a physio plinth after sustaining injuries. Research suggests that one of the main ways of reducing ski-related injuries on the slopes is to make sure you are prepared before you get there.
Strength, endurance, flexibility and cardio vascular fitness are key components when undertaking pre-ski training. Quadriceps; Gluteals and unusually the Latissimus Dorsi muscle all contribute. Last year I saw 2 calf tears, 4 anterior cruciate ligament tears, 3 medial collateral tears and several back injuries. Most said they were prepared, but were they?
It might be that your body feels fit but it might not be fit enough to cope with 7 hours on the slopes over 5 consecutive days. Do we even come close to doing this amount of exercise regularly and not forgetting at altitude? If your body is tired, you are more likely to get injured.
Your body might feel strong but might not be strong enough to adapt to changes in weather conditions and the snow. For example, if there is more snow and the snow is soft, ligament tears might be top of the injury list as your skis are more likely to catch and twist your knee. If the ground is icy, your back may be under more stress whilst trying to stay balanced. Are you an older skier? Not as flexible as 20 years ago? If you do fall, can your body cope with stretched positions? If your joints are lacking the flexibility they need in a fall, an injury may occur.
A vital component of skiing is balance, especially when we turn. Hips are central to your body and good balance relies on a good alignment through your centre, which in turn, recruits the most efficient muscles to do the job. Your hips hold up your upper body mass and your body rotates around them, controlling your centre of gravity.
As physios, one of the key elements we focus on is testing where existing weaknesses are and building a strength and stability programme specifically for you. We also look at flexibility and if this is lacking, we can help you improve this. We know that skiing requires an adequate hip and core strength, and good alignment to support you through the movements in skiing. We can help you improve this also.
You don’t need to be injured to see us, preventing injury by seeing us first might be the better option. Be prepared!