5 Tips To Avoid Knee Injuries While Skiing
By: Jesse Lewis, DPT, PT
Now that winter is here, it’s time to hit the slopes. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that skiing and snowboarding can lead to injury. Chances are, you’ve either had a knee injury or know someone that has injured their knee while skiing or snowboarding. It might seem like there is nothing you can do and that a knee injury is bound to happen. That doesn’t have to be true! The good news is that there are a few things you can do to stay safe while enjoying your time on the slopes. Here are 5 tips to stay safe while skiing or snowboarding.
1 - Pick the Right Slope
Injuries often occur when doing a level or two above what your skill level is. It’s easy to get pressured into going on a higher level slope if you are with a friend or family member. If the slope is more difficult than you are used to, however, your risk of injury goes up. Stick to the slopes that you can handle.
2 - Take Breaks and Avoid Fatigue
Knee injuries often happen at the end of a long day and especially on that infamous “one last run”. If you are exhausted from a long day, the risk of injuring your knee goes up. Make sure you take breaks during the day and don’t be afraid to call it a day if you’re tired.
3 - Bring a Water Bottle
It’s easy to become dehydrated while skiing or snowboarding. Once you’re dehydrated, your body isn’t as strong and isn’t as able to avoid injury. Since it’s cold, you won’t notice that you’re losing fluids and you often won’t even realize you’re thirsty. Bring some water in your backpack and take sips every time you take the chairlift.
4 - Know Your Lift
It may sound silly, but getting on and off the chairlifts is one of the most common ways of injuring your knee. If you aren’t paying attention it’s easy to get caught by the chair when you’re getting on or getting a ski stuck when you’re getting off. While you’re on the chairlift, take a minute to relax and enjoy what’s around you. While you’re getting on and off, make sure you’re paying attention.
5 - Get in Shape Beforehand
One of the best ways to avoid a knee injury is to be physically ready before you even go on your trip. Stay in shape during the offseason, or at least get into a workout routine a month or two before your first trip. Seeing a physical therapist or personal trainer before your first trip for a tune-up is a great way to get a personalized program to avoid knee injuries this winter.