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  • Writer's pictureDr. Terrell Joseph

Three Tips to Avoid Ski and Snowboard Injuries

Skiing and snowboarding are popular mountain activities in Eagle and Summit County. They are fun, exhilarating sports you can participate in at any age or any skill level. They are also responsible for the majority of winter injuries Dr. Joseph and his team at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery treat, which include:

  • Shoulder Dislocations

  • Knee Injuries

  • Skier’s Thumb

  • Wrist Fractures

  • Tibia Fractures

  • Broken Elbows

The majority of these injuries can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions. Here are three tips to keep you on the hill and out of Dr. Joseph’s urgent care appointment slots.

1. Stay In Control

The most common statement Dr. Joseph hears from his ski and snowboard injury patients is: “I just got out of control.”

Staying in control is crucial to having fun on the slopes. Once you get out of control, you put yourself, and others around you, at risk. Ways you can stay in control include:

  • Checking your speed

  • Stay in your comfort zone

  • Have awareness of others

  • Be aware of your surroundings

  • Understand how different snow conditions impact your ability to maneuver

The worst injuries Dr. Joseph and his team see are collisions, either with other people or with fixed objects. Some people, even if they’re skiing in control, don’t pay attention to where other people are on the mountain, even when it’s really crowded.

2. Stay Conditioned

Staying in good ski condition, even in the off-season, can help you avoid ACL tears and meniscus injuries during the first few months of winter sports. Some exercises to help you stay in ski and snowboard condition include:

  • Biking

  • Yoga

  • Pilates

These activities will help keep your quads, core, glutes engaged, all while improving your balance. There are several simple activities you can perform at home, such as:

  • Squats: These will keep your quads in shape and help maintain leg strength.

  • Lunges: Not only do these exercises strengthen your legs and glutes, but they help improve your balance.

  • Planks: Great for keeping your core strong, planks work the muscles in your abs and lower back that are used while skiing and snowboarding.

These exercises, combined with cardio, will ensure you don’t fatigue too quickly on the mountain and help prevent the dreaded knee ligament injury.

3. Warmup and Stretch

Your muscles need to be warmed up before beginning any type of physical, and this is doubly true for wintertime sports. As the temperature drops, your muscles can tighten and the blood vessels in your body contract. This can cause early exhaustion as well as raise the risk for more serious injury.

Before you hit the slopes, make sure to stretch. This routine should include:

  • Arm circles

  • Upper body rotations

  • Leg stretches

  • Back stretches

  • Squats

  • Running in place

Focus on the muscles that will be getting the most use, such as your quads and arms for skiing. It can be tempting to speed through these to get on the mountain, but it’s essential to spend more time stretching than you normally would. Remember: in the cold, your muscles are tighter and need more to loosen.

Don’t Let a Ski or Snowboard Injury Ruin Your Season! Contact Team Joseph Today!

Dr. Joseph is the go-to orthopaedic trauma expert in the Vail Valley and Summit County. If you’re injured on the mountain, Dr. Joseph and his team at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery will help get you back on the slopes.

Contact Dr. Joseph today by calling (970) 476-7220 or by requesting a consultation online. Same-day and urgent care appointments are always available!

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