Wimbledon Clinics

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What Are The Most Common Ski-Related Injuries?

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Skiing can be a perfect way to enjoy winter, but sliding down snow-covered hills is also associated with a risk of injury. While ski-related deaths are thankfully very rare, injuries are much more common and can vary from sprains to more serious traumas such as ligament tears and broken bones.

Skiing is one of the best ways to improve your health while savouring the beauty of the winter season, but it requires adequate preparation, which includes doing some training, being aware of the snow conditions and using your common sense.

One of the most common injuries caused while skiing is skier´s thumb, also known as gamekeeper´s thumb, US orthopaedic surgeon Angelo Ciminiello says. This is a type of injury that damages the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the thumb and occurs when a skier falls against the ski pole and over-bends the thumb. If the ligament is partially torn, treating it with a splint should be enough, but if it is completely torn, surgery will be required. Ciminiello´s advice for skiers is to release their ski poles once they fall to lower the risk of sustaining such an injury.

Skiers can also sustain knee injuries while on the slopes, with this type of trauma representing around 40% of all skiing injuries. Sprains or tears of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) are the common forms of knee injury, broadly resulting from a change in direction and turning, and landing on a bent knee that is over-extended. Other causes of knee traumas are skis crossing or the stance widening too far. Skiers can reduce the risk of hurting their knees if they regularly exercise to strengthen their quadriceps and keep their bindings in good condition.

Head injuries are the most dangerous type of ski-related trauma, and can have fatal consequences if skiing at high speeds. Helmets are a must, but skiers should also keep an eye on their speed to make sure it´s not above the safe limit. It´s also important to stay alert to other skiers, be aware of your surroundings and always follow directions on signage.