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Ski and Snowboard Injuries

Hello again injured gaijin. At this time of year many of your thoughts turn to ski and snowboard holidays. As physios our thoughts turn to skiing injuries…..we’d be broke without them! Even so, after vehement complaints from the V & B CFO and at the risk of a sharp down turn in our February –April takings we’ve decided to do our winter newsletter on helping you avoid them. Skiing injuries are an ever present danger, particularly for once a year skiers & boarders involved in sedentary work. The flexibility and strength required for skiing are quite a shock to bodies that are stringently conditioned to sitting at a desk for 12 hours a day, and work hardened to the demands of sitting at a restaurant and bar stool. The most common injuries sustained by skiers are: • Head injuries (5-10%)

  • Knee injuries (35%)
  • Fractures (thumbs and wrist) (5% – much higher for snowboarders) • Dislocations (especially shoulders) (5%)
  • Miscellaneous sprains (20%)
    To prevent injuries here is our top ten list:
  1. Make sure both skis release easily – be a pest to the ski hire guy!
  2. Condition your body to skiing. Commence a strengthening program a minimum of 6 weeks before you go.
  3. Don’t put your hand through the ski pole straps – they are there for hanging the stocks on the wall!
  4. Don’t ski aggressively when you are tired. It IS usually the last run of the day that causes the injury
  5. Don’t get up too soon when you are falling or sliding. Wait until you stop.
  6. Try to fall with your head tucked in, your skis together and your arms at your side.
  7. To avoid collisions always ski in control and don’t stop in the middle of the piste.
  8. Don’t ski after drinking
  9. Wear a helmet (especially kids) and snow boarders should wear wrist guards
  10. Warm up in the morning by doing a few easy runs first

Doing thigh and hamstring stretches before your first run of the day while you are wearing boots or clipped into skis will not only make you look somewhat ridiculous they won’t help you prevent injuries. Don’t bother with them (see point 10. above).
If you are injured remember to place your skis in a cross above the injured person, call Ski Patrol and do NOT attempt to move the person if you suspect there is even a chance of a neck or back injury.

Prevention is the best form of treatment, but fortunately for health professionals the world over it is a fact of life that ski injuries will occur. We wish everyone a happy and predominantly healthy ski season.

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