We may not have any skiing in Arkansas, but plenty of Arkansans will find themselves in the mountains on ski trips and vacations this winter. Maybe you’re spending Christmas on the slopes, or you’re excited about bringing in the New Year carving fresh powder. Skiing is a lot of fun, and a great way to stay active during the winter, but it can also lead to accidents and injuries.
Keep yourself and your family healthy and safe on your winter vacations. Learn about the most common skiing injuries and how to avoid them.
The most common skiing injuries are knee injuries.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are often caused by hyperextension, twisting, or forceful impact on either the front or side of the knee.
Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries are caused by force contact on the outer aspect of the knee resulting in either a stretch or tear of the ligament.
Torn meniscus is one of the most common types of knee injury. Forceful twists or rotations can lead to a tear of the meniscus.
While not as common as knee injuries, shoulder injuries are quite common for skiers. Dislocated shoulders, separated shoulders, and rotator cuff injuries may occur when a skier extends their arm in anticipation of a fall. The sudden impact can move the shoulder out of place, or cause other injuries to the shoulder.
Cuts, abrasions, and concussions are all far less common than knee or shoulder injuries, but they are still worth being aware of. The absolute best way to prevent head injuries while skiing is to wear a helmet.
An ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury – also know as skiers thumb or gamekeeper’s thumb – is a painful injury that occurs when a skier falls with a ski pole in hand, and the force tears the ligament in the thumb.
Like skiers thumb, wrist sprains occur during a fall.
Other things to consider
Skiing injuries aren’t the only health hazard to watch out for on the slopes.
Soreness varies by severity depending on how much you exert yourself while skiing and how physically active you normally are. The next couple of days after skiing might leave you a little stiff, or you may feel like you can’t even move. Make sure you give your body enough time to recover to prevent injuring yourself.
It’s surprisingly easy to forget about staying hydrated while skiing. Dehydration is dangerous regardless of the weather. Drink plenty of water while being physically active.
Chapped lips and windburn can be painful and uncomfortable. Wear clothing that provides cover to your skin, and bring a soothing lip balm or moisturizer for your lips and skin.
Some people experience chilblains when their skin is exposed to very cold temperatures. Cover your skin and wear adequate insulation while skiing.
Learn the warning signs of hypothermia.
Cold winter air can be a trigger for some people with asthma.
Ways to prevent skiing injuries
Condition yourself before your ski trip. Increased physical fitness can help reduce the risk of injury and improve your experience.
- Stay on marked trails at all times.
- Learn and practice proper skiing technique.
- Wear proper safety equipment.
- Make sure that all equipment fits and is fastened properly.
- Use good judgement, and honestly assess your skill level.
While you can do things to reduce your risk of accident or injury while skiing, there are times when an accident cannot be avoided. You may need to visit a hospital or urgent care clinic. It’s important to have your health information and your doctor’s information handy should you need medical attention.
Know the details of your health insurance plan, and make sure that you’re covered while traveling.