Exercises to Prevent Common Knee-Related Ski Injuries
Many find skiing to be among the most enjoyable winter experiences. It’s even more fun when you prepare ahead of time and ask the right questions to keep yourself out of harm’s way. With skiing, knee injuries among the most common type of accidents you can experience on the slope. It’s important to know what you can do to prevent this – and other winter sports injuries – from occurring.
Luckily, performing certain key exercises can help you avoid many of the most common skiing injuries. This article will teach you how to protect yourself from knee pain while skiing this winter.
Most Common Ski Injuries
Skiing injuries frequently affect the knees. Two of the most common skiing knee injuries are MCL and ACL tears.
MCL tears account for more than half of all skiing knee injuries. Some reports even indicate the MCL tear is the most common ski injury in general. It can be particularly common in less experienced skiers who rely on the “snowplow” method of pointing the ski tips together to control their speed. If a skier falls or their ski turns inward as the foot moves outward, an MCL tear may be the result.
An ACL tear is another one of the more common skiing knee injuries. An ACL ski knee injury is more likely to affect experienced skiers attempting jumps or similar aerial maneuvers. Uneven distribution of weight due to improper form when landing or trying to prevent a fall is often the cause.
Skiers’ knee pain can also develop even if a major winter activity injury doesn’t occur. Sometimes inexperienced skiers simply aren’t fit enough to handle the stress this sport can exert on joints. Exercises help prevent this and other types of the most common ski injuries.
Another type of skiing injury is a head injury. When you fall on skis, it’s sometimes impossible to protect the head from hitting the ground, another person, or even a tree. The head is very delicate, and many skiers injure themselves without even knowing it at first. Not every skiing injury results in a TBI or skull injury, but many do.
Ski injuries can be caused by an unlucky fall. But it’s more likely that they are the result of improper core strength, improper hip strength, and poor movement patterns. It is important to be proactive before ski season starts and make sure your strength, flexibility, and movement patterns are adequate to be out on the slopes. This applies to at-home activities, too. Prepare yourself and ensure that you’re free of back pain, shoulder pain, neck discomfort, and other bodily issues before even stepping foot onto the snow.
Exercises for Preventing Common Skiing Knee Injuries
Squatting with proper form is particularly helpful at preventing many of the most common ski injuries. This exercise is performed by standing with your knees shoulder-width apart and squatting down until the hips are above the knees and the thighs are at least parallel to the floor.
Make sure you maintain knee and hip control by not allowing your knees to cave inward. Keep your weight on your heels and do not allow your knees to pass over your toes. Return to the standing position and repeat approximately three sets of 10 reps. This exercise prevents knee injuries from skiing by strengthening muscles required for maintaining balance.
Once you feel comfortable, you can increase the difficulty of the exercise by jumping slightly after returning to the standing position. Smoothly settle back down into a proper squat position as you land.
Lateral hops are also helpful for those looking to avoid common skiing injuries. This simple exercise involves adopting a wide stance and jumping laterally over a foam roller or similar obstruction. Squat down when you land before jumping to the side again.
Make sure to do this exercise in front of a mirror so you can see your position when landing on one leg and make sure your hip, knee and foot are in a straight line. Jump for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat to your comfort level. Like squats, lateral hops build strength; they also boost stamina. You’re less likely to experience knee pain skiing or other skiing injuries if you’re more aware and awake.
Forward plank holds are another great exercise to improve core strength and decrease the risk of knee injuries. Assume a plank position by placing your forearms on the ground with your elbow positioned under shoulders and hands shoulder width apart. Maintain a straight line from your heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat 3 times. Planking is good for preventing back pain, too.
How to Treat Knee Injuries From Skiing
If you do experience knee pain skiing, take a break. Skiing injuries often occur when people don’t listen to their own bodies. By exercising properly and avoiding overexertion, you can stay safe (and enjoy sports) all winter.
Preparing for the ski season starts way before you strap on your boots. Skiing isn’t the only cold weather activity that people perform, so it’s not the only one to consider. Before you’re able to make it to the slopes, you need to participate in a few activities. While these aren’t true for everyone, in many areas people will need to do the following before they even think about skiing.
- Clear the driveway and walkway of their home. To get the car out of the driveway or garage and on the road, you’ll need to shovel. This means taking precautions and following shoveling tips to keep yourself from becoming injured.
- Travel to and from the ski resort. Many people don’t consider it, but the way they sit in their car or on public transportation makes an impact on overall health.
- Carry their heavy equipment. Even if you rent your skis or snowboard, you still carry them around before you wear them. Packages and presents aren’t the only heavy objects people carry during the winter months.
To maximize the benefits from the exercises listed above and learn new ways to prevent common skiing knee injuries, make an appointment with a physical therapist. They can discuss the best course of treatment for both preventing knee injuries from skiing and how to treat any discomfort you presently have. Be mindful of your health – particularly any back or neck pain you experience.
To find a physical therapy facility near you, use the BetterPT clinic location tool website, or download the app. These options put you into contact with trained and capable physical therapy professionals in person and virtually. Attend virtual appointments via the BetterTelehealth platform. This is a convenient, simple, and effective method for winter activity injury prevention and treatment.
Follow these steps and you’ll be zooming down the slopes pain-free in no time!