When the mountains are blanketed with freshly fallen snow, skiers flock up the canyons to enjoy the powder. Skiing on some of the Greatest Snow on Earth is something that Utah residents are lucky enough to do each year, and something that tourists fly in for. But is your body ready to hit the slopes?
Physical therapy can help you prepare for ski season to decrease your risk of injury. Skiing is one of the most dangerous sports that adults partake in on a regular basis, with an injury rate of 3 in 1000. It’s also one of the most popular winter sports in the world, with about 15 million skiers in the United States alone and about 200 million skiers worldwide. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that your body can handle shredding the pow.
Whether you’re taking on the bunny slopes during a holiday vacation with your family or you’re eyeing the challenge of a black diamond, a physical therapist can help you spend more time enjoying the slopes. Here’s what you need to know about how physical therapy can help you with both preparing for the ski season and with recovering from any injuries you sustain.
The Importance Of Pre-Season Preparation
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an alpine skier or a cross-country skier, you need to ensure that you spend time conditioning your body for the season. Research shows that the better shape you’re in, the less likely you are to sustain injury. Plus, getting into shape before the ski resorts open enhances your performance and allows you to take on new challenges.
Some of the ways you can prepare your body for ski season include:
- Wall sits
- Squats of all variants
- Core exercises, such as plank variants
- Tricep dips
- Consulting with a physical therapist
A physical therapist will be able to analyze your body’s specific needs and guide you through exercises and stretches personalized to you.
3 Common Ways Skiers Get Hurt
As previously mentioned, skiing is one of the riskiest sports that people regularly partake in. Young skiers and beginner skiers tend to get injured more frequently, but less severely. More experienced skiers usually don’t get injured as much, but when they do, the injuries tend to be far more severe.
Some of the common ways skiers get hurt are as follows.
#1. Knee Injuries
Knee injuries are the most common type of skiing injury, accounting for 20-36% of injuries. This is because your knees are very vulnerable while you ski, due to the fact that your foot and ankle are fixed in position in your ski boots while your knees are constantly shifting and twisting as you move.
Knee injuries range from sprains to ACL and MCL tears. If you stop abruptly, this can force your knee to twist and tear the ACL or MCL.
#2. Wrist And Hand Injuries
Wrist and hand injuries account for about 8-10% of skiing accidents. They tend to result from falls while holding ski poles. The force put on your hand and wrist can lead to skier’s thumb, wrist fractures, and more.
#3. Shoulder Injuries
Another injury that usually results from falling with a ski pole, shoulder injuries account for about 4-11% of skiing injuries. Some of the shoulder injuries skiers can suffer include: rotator cuff tears, shoulder dislocation, and AC joint separations.
It’s important to ensure that you warm your body up prior to hitting the slopes and that all of your equipment is properly fitted and in good condition. This can help to decrease your risk of injury. It’s also important to be mindful of the snow conditions. Fresh, deep powder is much more forgiving than snow that has hardened.
Physical Therapy For Skiing Injuries
In addition to helping you condition your body for the ski season, physical therapy can help you to recover from ski injuries. If you have the misfortune to suffer a severe injury that necessitates surgery, a physical therapist can provide you with both pre- and post-operative care.
Your physical therapist will go over your personal health history with you and ask you about what happened. They will then examine your body in order to develop a personalized treatment plan. Should your treatment plan need any adjustments, your physical therapist will make them.
Physical therapy can help you to regain strength, mobility, and help you get back to feeling your best so that you can return to the slopes with confidence.
‘Tis The Ski Season
Wasatch Peak Physical Therapy provides sports medicine physical therapy to help you this ski season. Whether you want help preparing your body for the slopes or you’ve been injured, our physical therapists are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.