How to Avoid Skiing Injuries this Winter
Skiing and other snow sports such as snowboarding are fun, exhilarating ways to get outside and exercise in the winter. No matter how careful you are, however, participating in any sport has a risk of injury, and this can include hand, wrist, or elbow injuries or shoulder fractures.
In this blog, the Long Island-based orthopedic surgeons at Mirza Orthopedics will suggest some ways you can lessen your risk of injury while still reaping the many rewards that skiing and other snow sports have to offer:
- Take lessons – but don’t overestimate your abilities – Lessons can help you learn proper techniques, but they can also make some skiers overconfident in their abilities. Know your limits and don’t try slopes that are beyond your level of experience and abilities. This can be harder if you’re in a group that’s more advanced than you are, so you might want to invite someone who has a similar skill level.
- Know how to fall –Falling is inevitable in sports like skiing, so the key is to learn how to fall in the safest possible way. If you’re falling backward, it’s safer to sit down rather than trying to resist the fall. Also resist the urge to use your hand to try to stop your fall, since you may dislocate your thumb. In addition, if you’ve fallen and are sliding, stay down until you stop.
- Check your equipment – Have your equipment checked by a knowledgeable technician at a ski shop so you can make sure you have what you need and are using it correctly. Bindings, for example, should be set to release at the proper time, and you should wear protective equipment such as a helmet, wrist guards, and pads. In the case of a serious fall, they can help you avoid more serious injuries such as shoulder fractures.
- Warm up first – Spend a few minutes warming up your muscles by stretching and doing an aerobic activity such as brisk walking or jumping jacks. This can make your muscles less prone to injury.
- Follow common-sense rules – Even if you’re an experienced skier, you should pay attention and adhere to the rules of the resort. For example, make sure you’re skiing in control and giving people downhill the right of way. And if you’re stopping to rest or wait for other skiers, make sure you’re not in a blind spot.
- Stay focused – Many injuries occur because of inattention. For example, if you’re skiing and not paying enough attention, you could slide into the path of a snowboarder or other hazard.
- Be aware of changing conditions – Slope conditions can change throughout the day, as snowfalls and ice forms. Staying aware of the changing conditions you’re facing will help reduce your chances of falling.
- Pay attention at the lifts – Injuries don’t just happen on the slopes – they can also happen while you’re getting on or off the lift. Pay attention to how the chair works and how quickly or slowly it operates. Newer lifts tend to pick you up slowly, but if the lift is older, it may be quicker or not operate as smoothly.
- Don’t allow yourself to get overly tired – Especially if you’re on vacation, you may be tempted to stay out on the slopes as long as possible. Tired muscles make you more likely to fall and suffer shoulder fractures or other injuries, so you should take breaks in the lodge and be prepared to stop completely before you get fatigued.
If you’ve suffered a skiing or snowboarding injury, contact Mirza Orthopedics today. We can correctly diagnose and effectively treat injuries such as shoulder fractures as well as injuries to your hand, wrist, or elbow. Our experienced orthopedists will help you recover and get back on the slopes and to your other activities as quickly as possible.