Skiing injuries are quite common, especially among occasional skiers. Most injuries occur as a result of falls; concussions, shoulder injuries and fractures being common as skiers lose control. Other common skiing injuries are ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and thumb injuries. Many skiing injuries can be avoided by embarking on a conditioning program before you begin the season and by wearing protective gear.
These may be mild or severe and may occur from a fall or direct blow to the head. A concussion occurs when the brain moves violently in the skull as a result of the trauma. Someone who sustains a mild concussion while skiing may appear disoriented, confused and may suffer memory loss. In severe cases there may be headaches, stiff neck, bleeding from the nose or ears, dizziness, blurred vision and even loss of consciousness. Any of these signs require immediate medical attention. Even mild cases should be reported as more severe effects could be felt later.
Also known as gamekeepers’ thumb, this is a common skiing injury that causes pain and a premature end to a skiing trip. This injury takes place at the MCP (metacarpophalangeal) joint at the base of the thumb and involves the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament). This type of skiing injury usually occurs when a skier’s thumb is forced into abduction (movement away from the index finger) and hyperextension (moving backward) against the ski pole during a fall or other impact. For a simple strain or tear, icing and casting to immobilise the joint work best. However, if there is a complete tear, fracture or instability of the MCP joint, surgery may be necessary. Physiotherapy will follow to restore joint mobility, strength and stability. It is important to treat a thumb injury promptly; if neglected, it may become chronic and arthritis and instability will develop.
Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries occur most commonly among beginning and immediate skiers due to faulty biomechanics. Knee pain, swelling and tenderness are the usual symptoms. This type of skiing injury responds well to conservative treatments with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) and physiotherapy. However, in some instances, your doctor may decide to perform surgery.
Most advanced skiers who become injured while skiing may suffer an anterior collateral injury (ACL) of the knee. This may occur in conjunction with a MCL injury and can be disabling. There may be an audible pop at the time of the injury, followed by knee pain, swelling and tenderness on the inner side of the knee. It may be difficult to walk or straighten the knee. With this type of knee injury, the athlete should stop the activity immediately and apply the RICE protocol. If you are not a high-powered athlete, your doctor may decide to operate and recommend physiotherapy before surgery to ensure the best results. A knee brace is often recommended for stability.
For these or any type of skiing injury give us a call or pay us a visit. We are here to help.