According to Meredith Bean, MD, who specializes in treating injuries from sports, skiing and snowboarding injuries often differ. Knee injuries, particularly the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), are the most common injury she sees with skiers due to the twisting motion of the sport. Snowboarders typically experience more impact-related injuries to their wrists and shoulders from falls, she says.
Here are Dr. Bean’s top five tips to avoid skiing and snowboarding injuries:
- Be prepared: The best way to prevent snow sport injuries from occurring is to be physically fit before hitting the slopes. Prior to your trip up the mountain, incorporate strengthening, agility, balance, and endurance exercises to your workout routine.
- Use proper equipment: All skiers and snowboarders should use a helmet, but be aware that helmets do not provide full protection at higher speeds. She encourages snowboarders, especially beginners who may fall often, to wear wrist guards to help prevent wrist fractures, as those are the most common injury she sees for that sport. Skiers should use pole straps appropriately to avoid thumb injuries.
- Keep hydrated: When it’s cold, you may not feel as thirsty but your body is still losing water through sweating and breathing. If you can see your breath, that’s water leaving the body. So when heading out to the slopes, drinking lots of water is important to reduce muscle fatigue and injury.
- Stay in control: Know your fitness and ability limits and stay within them.
- Stop if you’re tired: Many snow sports injuries occur on the final run of the day. This often is due to fatigue or a change in conditions on the mountain, which can lead to a lack of focus or control and result in injuries. If you are tired, but considering one last run, it is best to play it safe and call it a day.
For more tips to prevent snow sport injuries, please join Dr. Bean and the Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine for a Twitter chat and Facebook Live Q&A on Tuesday, March 28, noon-1 p.m. Follow @HealthyBayArea and facebook.com/SaintFrancisMemorialHospital. Dr. Bean also is available for on-camera interviews and equipment demonstrations.
About Saint Francis Memorial Hospital
Dignity Health Saint Francis Memorial Hospital is an accredited, not-for-profit community hospital that has been providing exceptional healthcare in San Francisco for more than 100 years. Located atop Nob Hill, near downtown San Francisco, Saint Francis is home to the Bothin Burn Center, the largest in Northern California, the Center for Sports Medicine, and the Saint Francis Orthopedic Institute. With its close proximity to downtown San Francisco, Saint Francis also specializes in Occupational Health and Emergency Medicine. Saint Francis has been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine and Hip/Knee Replacement Surgery and is a Certified Stroke Center by the Joint Commission.