Safety on the Slopes...
By Kinesio UK | 20 December 2018

Safety on the Slopes...

If you're planning a winter holiday, for many people snowboarding or skiing are at the top of the list. With most mountains in Europe opening at the end of November and closing mid to late April, the skiing season is just beginning. Damage to joints and muscles while skiing is increasingly common, so we thought it would be a great time to look at some top tips for avoiding injuries on the slopes.

The most common types of skiing knee injuries typically involve the lower extremity. The biomechanics of the sport leads a number of knee injuries. Patella overload is still by far the most common cause of knee pain in skiers, but newer technologies such as breakaway bindings have cut down on fractures and decreased the chance of injury.

In a modern ski boot, the foot, shin and ankle are almost locked into place, but the knee is unprotected and often bears greater pressure and is at a higher risk for injury. The most common skiing knee injuries for are sprains or tears of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) or the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). The ACL is one of the short ligaments and it holds the middle of the knee together, so it's easily damaged by a severe twist - especially in a slow backwards fall.

In many cases of an ACL tear or injury, you will hear or feel a pop. With an ACL injury, there is usually immediate swelling and pain. The ACL is embedded deep in the knee joint, so an injury to this area will cause swelling of the entire knee.

So is there anything you can do to reduce the risk of injury? Here are a few tips so that you can try to stay safe on the slopes...

  1. Skiing uses muscles which we don't exercise very often. Weak, tired muscles give less protection to the joints and make them prone to injury. Follow a conditioning/exercise programme a few weeks before you go and warm up muscles before activity
  2. Take lessons and continue to improve your technique
  3. Skiers using incorrectly adjusted skis and bindings are eight times more likely to suffer injury, so make sure you check and set your bindings correctly
  4. Avoid muscle fatigue - take breaks and have rest days
  5. If you do suffer an injury, get advice - clinics in ski resorts are used to seeing many knee injuries and they can help with your recovery
  6. Pick a quieter slope - there's less chance of having to take evasive action

During rehab and recovery you could also ask your therapist to undertake an assessment and try a #KinesioTaping application like the example here.

Kinesio Taping Methods for lymphatic and ...
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