Skiing Injuries – Physiotherapy for Skiers
It’s the time of year when many people are looking forward to their much awaited skiing trip . While hitting the slopes is an enjoyable and rewarding sport , unfortunately aches and pains and injuries can be an all too common feature of this popular pastime.
Common skiing injuries
Knee: Pain in the knee is often caused by excessive stresses on the patella tendon or on the inner surface of the knee cap , usually due to poor movement of the knee cap over the inner knee joint. Pain can be felt at the front of the knee cap and is normally aggravated by squatting , sitting, using stairs and kneeling. Anterior knee pain responds very well to Physiotherapy with specific stretching , strengthening and core stability exercises. Sports massage can also also be helpful by loosening up tight thigh and calf muscles and assisting in maintaining lower limb function. A thorough biomechanical assessment of the lower limbs to identify any weakness , followed by a tailored exercise programme to increase strength and flexibility may help to prevent knee problems .
Knee ligament injuries : Ligament sprains of the knee are common . The ligaments run inside and along either side of the knee joint and provide stability when it bends . Injury can range from a few torn fibres to complete rupture . Depending on the severity of injury either surgery or conservative treatment with Physiotherapy will be needed .
Skiers thumb : Skiers thumb accounts for 10% of all skiing injuries . Falling onto the hand with the stick held firmly can cause damage to the ligaments supporting the base of the thumb . In severe cases they can rupture completely and require surgical repair . Partial tears can be treated conservatively with physiotherapy to restore range of movement and function . Like all ligament injuries protection, rest , ice ,compression and elevation ( PRICE ) will promote best possible recovery . To help prevent skiers thumb , unless you are in deep powder snow and are concerned about loosing your poles, do not use the ski pole loop as this greatly increases the chances of skiers thumb .
Shoulder: Acute shoulder injuries , more prevalent in snowboarder’s , occur during a fall on to the shoulder or on to the outstretched arm (similar to wrist injuries). Common injuries would be fractures , dislocations and soft tissue strains and sprains. Good technique and conditioning should reduce the likeliness of a fall while clenched fists and keeping your arms tucked when coming off a snowboard could reduce the impact of a foreseen fall. Early Physiotherapy management of most of these should ensure a speedy recovery
Snowboarders ankle : Snowboarders have their very own lower limb injury ‘snowboarders ankle . This is a fracture of the outside of the talus bone of the ankle and it’s symptoms are similar to those of an ankle sprain. This injury can be difficult to detect as they don’t always show on x-ray and may need a CT scan. If there is persistent pain in the ankle you will need to seek medical advice, treatment will depend on the position of the fracture.