5 tips to avoid injuries when skiing
Written by Weijia Xu, pht..
Alpine skiing is a popular sport in Canada, it allows you to be outdoors in winters, forget about everyday worries and it provides exhilarating sensations. However, every year many people get injured. Here are some tips and advice to avoid ski injuries:
Prepare your body
Skiing can be quite a physically demanding sport. If your body is not used to sports, starting the season abruptly can cause injury secondary to muscle strain. At the start of the season, you can then start with half-days of skiing to give the body time to pick up the pace.
Avoid “weekender syndrome” by exercising regularly during the week.
Click here to download some of the exercises suggested by our physiotherapists.
Strengthening the muscles of the lower limbs, back and core will give you a solid foundation for better control while skiing.
If you have any previous injuries, or are not sure how to train, see a physiotherapist. We can help you determine what your weaknesses are, if you have the right biomechanics, and help you correct them.
Have good equipment
Skis and boots should be suitable for your weight, height and your level of skiing. It is strongly advised not to borrow equipment that has not been adjusted or verified. Each brand of ski has its own size chart which should be checked before purchasing. Do not hesitate to seek advice from salespeople who are often very familiar with these different peculiarities.
In addition, your skis should be sharp as they will be easier to control.
It is also important to check the condition of your skis before heading out on the slopes. If the metal parts of the skis have large notches, they will be less effective at braking.
To find out if your skis need sharpening, you can apply pressure with your fingernail on the metal part on the side of the ski. If you feel like you are removing a thin layer, chances are your ski needs to be sharp.
You can also rent your equipment, the people in charge at the ski resorts know very well how to find the equipment that suits you.
Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended as it reduces the risk of serious injury secondary to concussion from a fall by 29%.
Warm up before leaving
Before arriving at the ski resort, in the car (if you are not driving), you can do isometric contractions of your lower limb muscles: contraction of the buttocks, thighs, calves and feet without moving. When you arrive, move your ankles up and down and in circles before putting on your ski boots. You can also do some squats, lunge, trunk rotation, arm swing, trunk stretch to each side, and jumping jacks. The purpose of warming up is to stimulate blood circulation.
Once on the track, you can do a few warm-up runs before tackling the more demanding tracks.
Listen to your body
It is important to listen to your body when you are on the slopes for signs of fatigue and dehydration, as these are often the causes of injury. In order to allow your body to recover and regain energy, it is advisable to take breaks when you feel tired. Take the opportunity to have a drink to warm up. If after resting, you still feel tired, it is recommended that you stop for the day, in order to avoid increasing risk of injury, because injury will deprive you of a day of skiing the next day or even deprive yourself of skiing for the season.
If you are a beginner,
Learn with an instructor and have good techniques
At first glance, skiing seems an easy sport to practice and learn. However, it is a sport that requires rigorous learning and good technique in order to limit the risk of injury. It is therefore strongly recommended to learn to ski with an instructor. The right techniques will allow you to develop good control, good reflexes and good stability while improving your position on your skis. You will then be able to face many situations.
In addition, the instructor can educate you on safety as well as the operation of the slopes, allowing you to use the slopes adapted to your level and to maintain a safe behavior towards himself and other skiers.
If you have pain when skiing, do not hesitate to consult a physiotherapist to find out what you have and how to fix it!
Note that these tips may not apply to everyone. If the pain persists, call us for a physiotherapy appointment or book online!