Common Ski and snowboard injuries 

The winter season is upon us and many individuals participate in the recreational sports of skiing and snowboarding. The sport is fun and exhilarating but also comes with the risk of injury. The knee, shoulder, and wrist are some of the vulnerable joints when it comes to the sport.

The knee is most commonly injury when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. Soreness after a fall, collision, or overuse can be treated with rest and ice. If the soreness persists or the pain is more than can be tolerated, further treatment is necessary. Imaging will be required to determine the structures affected. The medial collateral ligament (MCL), meniscus, and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are the structures that are injured in the common accidents on the mountain. The MCL is located on the inside portion of the knee and prevents the knee from a valgus force, or inward motion. When hit on the outside during a collusion or fall, this ligament can be torn or strained. The meniscus is the cushion between the knee that acts as a shock absorber. It attaches to the MCL and can be damaged with any forceful impact. Stress on the MCL can also lead to a tear in the meniscus. The ACL prevents the knee from forward translation. Damage occurs when landing improperly from a jump or twisting the knee when falling. Physical therapy is needed after these injuries to return to full function and surgery may be required in tears.

Wrist fracture and strains along with shoulder fractures and dislocations will occur with falls. A person’s natural reaction is to place their arms and hands straight out to brace against the fall. This fall on outstretched hand (FOOSH) places a large amount of force on the wrist and shoulder. The bones of the wrist can be fractured and strain can occur throughout the triangular cartilage (TFCC) of the wrist. Shoulder dislocation can occur because the humerus (the bone in the arm) is forceful pushed posteriorly and is no longer inside the glenoid (socket of the shoulder blade). The acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) can become damaged when a fall separates the two bones apart from each other. Imaging is necessary after these injuries to determine the extent of the damage. Physical therapy is needed to rehabilitate the joints to regain strength and motion.

The best course of action to avoid these injuries is through prevention. A thorough exercise program to improve strength of the legs, shoulders, and core will improve the stability of all the joints. Balance and quick reaction training will allow a person to recover quickly and react to all of the things that can occur on the mountain from other people to rocks poking through the snow. A proper warm up and cool down will prevent stress related injuries when spending a full day on the mountain. Education on the proper way to fall will prevent many of the wrist and shoulder injuries that can occur. All of the prevention techniques can be learned from a skilled physical therapist. Come on down to Advanced PMR to prepare to hit the slopes safely today.

Posted in: Physical Therapy

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Monmouth Health and Life Magazine Reader's Choice Award 2016 Winner
Monmouth Health and Life Magazine Reader's Choice Award 2015 Winner
Monmouth Health and Life Magazine Reader's Choice Award 2016 Winner