Millions of families will be heading off for an Easter skiing holiday before the end of the season and there are few things as exhilarating as gliding through the white stuff, enjoying the mountain scenery.

But skiing and snowboarding are dangerous sports and, for some, what was meant to be an invigorating, healthy holiday often ends in broken bones or long term injuries. Swindon and Cirencester physiotherapist Kate Markland, of the The Markland Clinic, has these words of advice to help prevent injuries

Knee Injuries

In the past 30-35 years, serious knee sprains, usually involving the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), have become an inherent risk of modern Alpine skiing with more than 70,000 sustained each year.

Injury to the ACL can result in an unstable knee, leading to expensive surgery or a lengthy period of rehabilitation. The events leading up to the injury are usually subtle, giving little or no warning. Aim to prevent or reduce serious knee injuries:

  • Avoiding high risk behaviour
  • Routinely correcting poor skiing technique
  • Recognising and responding quickly and effectively to potentially dangerous situations

Snowboard injuries

Boarding carries a slightly higher risk of injury than skiing. Those with the highest risk of injury are beginner teenage snowboarders, who have had no professional instruction.

Wrist fractures are most common, as the instinctive reaction is to outstretch a hand to break the landing. These are not simple injuries and can lead to long-term restrictions and early development of osteo arthritis. Learn to fall correctly and wear a wrist guard.

The shoulder joint is also commonly injured, either due to force being transmitted up the arm or direct trauma from a fall onto the outside of the shoulder itself. Falls can lead to fractures of the upper arm or collar bone, damage to the shoulder joint (such as a dislocation) or to the joint between the collar bone and the shoulder blade (the so-called AC joint). Learning to fall correctly is the best way to reduce the chances of a shoulder injury.

Post injury rehab

If you do sustain a Snow sports injury don’t leave it a long time before getting it checked out. Every year in early summer, we see people who sustained an injury in February and just hoped it would get better. Some of these injuries are serious and require surgery.