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Fresh snow is a beautiful thing, and if you’re like many Central Oregonians, you like to do more than look at it from your window. Skiing, whether alpine or nordic and snowboarding, are favorite winter activities among many locals and visitors. Yet, for many, the most common ski and snowboarding injuries happen to the lower extremities, specifically the knee. 

Both medial collateral ligament (MCL) tears and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are common. You can usually recover from the former without surgery; however, the latter often requires it. We want to help you prevent ski and snowboarding injuries this season with the following tips.

Repeat after me – Hands forward. Effective skiing technique involves keeping your hands and weight forward with your legs parallel and your hips, knees, and ankles flexing as you make your turns. 

Ski/board where you are comfortable. The terrain can make a big difference in how well you ski. Not only can obstacles become a hazard, deep snow, if you don’t have the right skis or are not comfortable skiing in it, can also lead to injuries. 

Avoid trying to stand up straight during a fall. When skiers try to correct a fall, they often shift their weight to one ski, while the arms and trunk twist and rotate away from that leg. Doing this can result in an ACL injury, which is the most common ski injury reported.

Warm-up before skiing. Few people adequately warm-up before skiing, resulting in reduced performance and increases the chance of injury. Instead, park your car a little further away from the lift or trails, so you have a greater distance to walk. Walking can be a great dynamic warm-up. Also, start with a few easy runs to wake up your body and loosen your muscles before hitting the steeper or deeper terrain.

Wear the right gear for your skill and the conditions. Depending on your skill level, you must wear the most appropriate equipment for your abilities. To maximize performance, you should also choose the best skis for the terrain. Ensure your boots, bindings, and ski length are appropriate for your height as well. It is also a good idea to wear wrist guards.

When you’re tired, rest. If your body is feeling stiff or fatigued, rest. When your body is tired, your form suffers, which increases the chance of having an injury. 

Your health and safety are of the utmost importance to us. If you have experienced ski or snowboarding injuries, give us a call to schedule an evaluation with one of our physical therapists. We have five locations throughout Central Oregon in Bend, Eagle Crest, Madras, Redmond, and Sisters.