3 Tips to Prevent Common Snowboarding and Skiing Injuries this Season

By Blake Goehring, Physiotherapist

Being active and getting outdoors has been a wonderful escape from the restrictions surrounding the COVID pandemic. As the time to hit the slopes draws closer, we can identify a few tactics to allow you to seize every minute of this upcoming ski season and stay injury free.

Tip #1: Protect your Head

Concussions are among the most common injuries experienced while either skiing or snowboarding. This makes perfect sense; fast downhill speeds combined with a snow and ice mixture are not the best ingredients for a soft landing. Like “one strapping” a backpack, skiing and snowboarding without a helmet has become an outdated practice and most people on the hill are safety conscious.

Our tip: Wear a helmet! Ligaments and muscle injuries heal quickly but your brain does not. Helmets significantly decrease trauma to the head during a crash and they also work great to keep those ears warm on chilly days!

Tip #2: Wrap your Wrists

Wrist injuries are the most common upper extremity problem associated with snowboarding. Poles assist skiers with their balance and ability to stay on their feet during a potential fall, but snowboarders aren’t so lucky. Whether it is falling forwards or backwards, it is a reflexive reaction for snowboarders to brace with their hands first. This is especially the case with beginners who have a propensity to spend a greater chunk of the day on their wrists and bums than on their feet!

Our tip: Splinting or bracing your wrists can help to prevent the hyperextension injury that is typical in snowboarding. This protection still allows you to have full function of the thumb and fingers but keeps the wrist in a rigid position and away from harm, even when you fall.

If you’re looking for some options, our physiotherapy clinic carries two different braces that could work perfectly for the hills this winter. You will likely even have these covered by your extended health benefits plan. Check out the feature picture to see what it might look like!

Tip #3: Strengthen your Stabilizers

From the perspective of prevention or “Pre-hab”, building up muscles that keep you balanced and centered prior to the season is a great injury prevention practice. Dislocations and ligament sprains … I am talking about you! Though most injuries in the sport of skiing or snowboarding seem highly traumatic in nature, they often begin with a loss of balance or stability at a joint. The muscles surrounding the major joints of the body that perform more of a stabilizing role than a moving role are vital for injury prevention.

Our tip: Add a stability component to your normal exercise routine. If you are a runner, plan a trail run instead of pounding the pavement next time you go out. If you workout in a gym, try to modify your normal routine by adding a balance component. Doing more single leg activities and pushing off of unstable surfaces (i.e. bosu ball, swiss ball, balance cushion, etc.) can help prevent falls and injuries.

These three tips from our Physiotherapy team can prevent skiing or snowboarding injuries this season and get more value from your punch card or seasons pass. If you have questions about these concepts, give us a call and one of our therapists will provide a custom program to suit your body and needs. You can also book online by clicking here.