Stay Injury Free During Your Winter Sports Season
Ryan Etsus, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Ski season is upon us! (or in my case, snowboard season). Being new to the area I’m not used to being able to drive under an hour to hit the slopes. This has made me all too eager to spend as much time on my board as possible! My favorite resort so far must be Jackson Hole Ski Resort. The runs are steep, and the snow was great. Being the physical therapist I am, I couldn’t help but plan some workouts and “prehab” routines to help me avoid injury this winter season.
Knee injuries are among the most common injuries for skiers. Such as ACL tears/sprains or MCL tears/sprains. Snowboarders on the other hand are more likely to suffer wrist, shoulder or ankle injuries. None of these injuries are fun and that’s why it’s important to prepare your body for the long season ahead and decrease your risk of injury. Here are some simple tips to keep your body healthy during this winter season. I hope you have a great season that doesn’t get cut short!
1. Improve your balance before hitting the slopes. A good place to start is simply standing on one leg and balancing for 30 seconds. If this is too easy, try standing on a pillow or close your eyes. (stand close to a wall so you don’t fall!)
2. Strengthen your body. A few important areas are your hips and shoulder. Your hips are key for keeping your knees stable. In the shoulder, the rotator cuff is often weak which can lead to injury.
3. Don’t do too much, too soon, too fast! If you have been sitting on the couch for the last few months, you might want to take it easy as you get back into skiing or snowboarding. If your first day is 8 hours of intense shredding, your body might not keep up. Take it slow and start preparing your body before you make it to the mountain.
4. Warm up/cool down with some light stretches before and after skiing/snowboarding. Before focus on more active stretches that moderately increase your heart rate. After, focus more on sustained stretches.
If you have any Questions about preventing injury or want an in-depth evaluation of your musculoskeletal system, stop by Physical Therapy Specialists of Idaho where we can give you a custom program tailored specifically to you. Let us know if you have questions on strengthening exercises, warm ups/cool downs, and other ways to improve your balance.