Like many in NEPA, I love winter in great part due to my love for downhill and cross-country skiing. NEPA is home to many great family ski resorts. Although, I don’t remember when the half-way-house was the main lodge at Elk Mountain, I have been skiing at Elk since 1970 and consider it an important part of winter, even today. However, I have also had the opportunity as a skier and orthopedic and sports physical therapist to witness and treat a variety of ski injuries. As a result, I am keenly aware of the need for safety and conditioning to prevent serious injury.
Not surprising, 75% of all ski injuries occur due to falls, 20% due to collisions, and occasionally some injuries occur on the ski lifts according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Knee injuries such as ligament strains or tears are the most common injuries. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is more commonly injured in beginners twisting the knee at slow speeds. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is commonly injured when a skier catches an edge and hyperextends the knee.
Leg fractures occur from violent falls or high-speed collisions. This is more common in very cold, icy or hard-pack conditions. Upper limb injuries also occur in skiing. Shoulder dislocations, thumb sprains, and wrist fractures are common arm injuries. Head injuries account for 10-15% of all ski injuries. Fortunately, helmets are becoming increasingly popular.
1. Pre Season Conditioning – (Described in Detail in Part II – Next Week)
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
NEXT MONDAY – PART II – PREVENTION OF SKIING INJURIES THROUGH CONDITIONING! Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in the Scranton Times-Tribune.
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.