Are you fit to ski?

December 19, 2016

When the cold weather blasts into town winter recreational activities and chores can pose problems for the outdoor enthusiasts whose body is not in condition. Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding can cause painful muscle spasms or strains if you are not in shape. Simply walking outside in the cold weather without the appropriate layers of warm clothing can intensify older joint problems. As the muscles and blood vessels contract to conserve the body’s heat, the blood supply to the extremities is reduced. This lowers the functional capacity of many muscles, particularly among the physically unfit.

Skiing and snowboarding are undoubtedly great fun although it can lead to injuries especially if people push themselves past their limits. Studies have shown that most ski injuries are sprains with soft tissue bruising and joint injuries being the next most common.

Knee injuries are the bread and butter of skiing injuries, with damage to the medial collateral ligaments (the ligaments on the inside of the knee) by far the most common, and usually occur during a fall. While many collateral ligament sprains are fairly minor and full recovery in most people is expected it is important to differentiate between a serious injury and a minor one, but in all cases the appropriate therapy must be sought as soon as possible to increase the chances of a successful recovery.

Another commonly injured area for skiers is the low back. This is most often because of the stress being placed on the lower back which can worsen a pre-existing condition. While skiing the body’s core muscles are used to keep the body in the appropriate position. Those with old back injuries are less likely to have sufficient core strength to provide the low back with the support it requires. As such gentle skiing is enough to cause severe low back pain which can put a real damper on the holiday. These people would benefit from appropriate spine safe core exercise during the build up to their trip. A good bench mark test to assess your core endurance is the plank which you should be able to hold in perfect position for at least two minutes.

Don’t wait until the day before your holiday to sort aches and pains out, if you require any help or would like to have an initial consultation or rehab assessment give the clinic a call on 0121 448 6990.

Elizabeth Falco
DC, MChiro

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