Thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have missed a ski season or two when the world went into lockdown. Although Omicron may have set us back slightly, many people are hoping that they’ll be able to return to the slopes this season. However, before you do it’s important to make sure your body is well prepared.
The knee is composed of bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendon and the ligaments are the most vulnerable to ski injuries. The ligament is a band of tough fibrous tissue that stabilises the knee, but the sudden changes in direction and quick muscle contractions that occur when you ski often results in ligament damage.
The two ligaments that are most frequently damaged during skiing are the Anterior Cruciate ligament and Medial Cruciate Ligament and it’s estimated that these injuries account for up to a third of all skiing-related injuries.
It is especially important to make sure your knees are prepared for ski season. After such a long break off, without preparation you are at an increased risk of skiing knee injury. So, how can you prep your knees for ski season? Find out everything you need to know to avoid knee injuries this ski season below.
Strengthening up the knees
The best way to minimise the risk of injury when you get back on the slopes is to strengthen the knees and muscles around the joint. You can do this through a targeted exercise programme at the gym, but if you have suffered knee issues in the past, seeking advice from a physiotherapist or a knee specialist may be necessary.
A good physiotherapist will be able to show you how to effectively build up strength around the knee to prevent skiing-specific injuries. The more strength you can build up before you go, the less likely you will be to suffer an injury.
It is a good idea to focus on strength training exercises, alongside cardio. Skiing can be a really demanding sport, so ensuring you are fit enough is important.
Consider taking lessons
Another way to protect yourself is to consider taking skiing lessons. Even if you are a keen skier, such a long break away from the slopes can leave you a little rusty. This can greatly increase the risk of injury. Taking some refresher lessons will put your mind at ease, while ensuring you keep the body well protected.
Avoid skiing in hazardous conditions
It goes without saying that you should look at the conditions before heading out on the slopes. Conditions can change quickly at the top of a mountain, making it crucial to stay informed with regular updates. Stay on marked trails as skiing off-piste greatly increases your risk of injury.
Do not become overtired
Be mindful of how you are feeling and if you start to become fatigued, then it’s best to call it a day. Also never combine alcohol and the slopes – however tempting it is to indulge in a glühwein or two, alcohol greatly reduces your ability to ski safely.
Wear appropriate gear
If you want to avoid injury to the knee, you need to make sure you’re wearing the appropriate gear. Your ski equipment should fit properly and be appropriate for your height, weight, and skiing ability.
If you follow the tips above, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of knee injury when you return to skiing. In the unfortunate event that an injury does occur, seeking treatment quickly is important. Book a consultation today to address any issues you are having with your knee.