Ski and Snowboarding Season is Around the Corner: Train Now for a Healthy Season

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine explains common ski and snowboarding injuries and tips to help prevent them

New York, NY and Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) September 29, 2017

Colorful leaves falling from the trees means only one thing to die-hard skiers and snowboarders: the snow season isn’t far behind. Most people don’t realize this but training early is imperative for a healthy, injury-free ski season, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

The fact is, skiing and snowboarding are well known for being a high-risk injury sport. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 114,000 skiing-related injuries were treated nationwide in 2014, along with another 79,000 injuries involved with snowboarding. Fortunately, Dr. Plancher, a US Ski and Snowboard Team Physician, is here in Manhattan and Greenwich, Connecticut.

Several key muscle groups are used most in skiing and snowboarding, Dr. Plancher says. These include: the quadriceps, which hold you in ski position and protect the knees; hamstrings and glutes, which stabilize the body in a flexed skiing position; inner and outer thighs, which help you steer and hold skis parallel; calves, which help you stay upright; abs and back, which hold your core in position; and arms, which stabilize shoulders and push ski poles.

“Far too many muscle groups are integral to skiing to just hop on a ski trail without a thought to pre-conditioning,” Dr. Plancher says. “Skiing and snowboarding are high-intensity sports requiring at least some preparation to perform effectively and safely.”

Common ski and snowboarding injuries
What are the most prevalent injuries related to skiing and snowboarding? It’s a wide range, according to Dr. Plancher, and includes:

  • Knee ligament injuries: All those twists and turns on the slopes can be hard on the knees, particularly ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament).
  • Shoulder injuries: Because skiers often break their fall by extending their arms, shoulder injuries such as sprains and dislocations can occur.
  • Fractures: Hard falls or colliding with another person or object may lead to fractures of the wrists, arms or legs, Dr. Plancher says.
  • Snowboarder’s ankle: A high-energy ankle sprain or fracture, this condition triggers high, constant ankle pain.
  • Skier’s thumb: This condition occurs in skiers who fall on an outstretched hand while grasping a ski pole. “The pole grabs into the snow and jams into the inside of the thumb, causing the thumb to overextend,” Dr. Plancher explains.
  • Head or spine injuries: These can be particularly serious, as concussions and other head trauma can occur from falls or collisions, as can vertebral fractures in the spine. “Fortunately, head and spinal injuries from skiing or snowboarding are rare compared to other injuries, but they can be far more devastating and safety is paramount,” Dr. Plancher notes.

Conditioning measures – which ideally should be performed several times per week all year – target both the overall body and important muscles groups involved in skiing and snowboarding. Dr. Plancher suggests the following:

  • Overall fitness tactics: Cardio is important in mountain sports, so jog, stair climb or cycle regularly to maximize fitness and keep muscles limber.
  • Squats: 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps 3 times per workout done safely.
  • Lunges: 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps while holding light dumbbells per workout.
  • Kettle bell Sumo squats: 4 sets of 10 to 16 reps per workout done appropriately.
  • Leg press: 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps per workout, alternating between seated and standing leg presses on different days.
  • Box jumps: 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps per workout, with the box slightly taller than the top of your kneecaps. Jump up using both feet and land on two feet. Be cautious to avoid meniscal injuries.

Check out for specific movement examples.

“Other key injury-prevention strategies include using the appropriate equipment which fits you correctly – including items such as helmets and wrist guards – and choosing ski runs fitting to your abilities,” Dr. Plancher adds. “Additionally, I always suggest taking ski or snowboarding lessons if you’re a beginner or an advanced skier or snowboarder, because these lessons offer tips on how to fall correctly and safely, reducing injury risks and only improving your skills. Experienced skiers and snowboarders can also benefit from lessons.”

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is a comprehensive orthopaedics and sports medicine practice with offices in New York City and Greenwich, CT.